Amid reports of the deadly cholera outbreak having caught up with Bulawayo recently, recent laboratory tests on suspected cases have cleared he city of the disease.
This comes as a total of 16 people suspected to have contracted cholera in Bulawayo have so far been discharged from Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital in the city.
They were among a total of 21 who had been admitted at the hospital since Thursday last week on suspicions they had contracted the deadly disease.
Bulawayo City Council director of Health Services, Dr Edwin Sibanda told NewZimbabwe.com that only five suspected cholera patients are still detained at the health facility.
"Of all the 21 people whom we had admitted at Thorngrove on suspicions of contracting cholera, only five are still detained pending laboratory tests. Out of the five, three were admitted yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon while the other two were referred to the hospital last night," Sibanda said.
The director said the remaining people were still being treated for cholera even before the outcome of the specimen samples.
"Whilst we are still waiting for the laboratory test results, we are administering the cholera dosage to the patients. With a disease like cholera, you cannot afford to prolong a treatment even though we are not yet certain that the people are cholera positive. Basically we are giving the patients antibiotics and fluids which is still ok even if it turns out that the people are free from the disease," Sibanda said.
The health official said for the specimens sent to the laboratory so far, five were at negative Rapid Diagnostic Tests while three were negative culture for vibrio cholera, salmonella typhi and shigella.
"This simply means that there is no evidence that the admitted have cholera or typhoid," he said.
He however said health officials will continue to monitor the discharged patients.
He also urged residents to continue practising good hygienic practices to avoid the spread of the disease.
Government on Sunday this week convened an emergency meeting with stakeholders following reports of the outbreak of the epidemic in the city.
There was alarm and despondency in the city following news of the cholera "outbreak."
Harare has been hit by a deadly cholera outbreak which has claimed an estimated 27 lives while nearly 4000 people have also been infected.
Harare's Glen View and Budiriro suburbs have been cited as the most affected.