Zimbabwe: Concern Over New Signs, Symptoms

12 October 2018

Government has expressed concern over the number of people still presenting with cholera signs and symptoms, despite vaccination against the diarrhoeal disease that started last week.

Epidemiology and disease control director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira said as of Tuesday, 40 new cases had been reported in Glen View and Budiriro, Harare.

She said two other suspected cases were reported in Chitungwiza.

Dr Manangazira said the number of new cases was anticipated to go down because vaccination was also underway.

"We expect vaccination to be effective from seven to 14 days, but what has been happening in Budiriro and Glen View is that even the turn up for vaccination was lower than other suburbs," she said.

"We hope that residents will take heed of our call to get vaccinated."

Glen View and Budiriro are the epicentre of the cholera outbreak that has claimed 49 lives mainly in Harare.

As of Tuesday, 63 percent of the population in Budiriro had been vaccinated against cholera, while Glen View health teams had vaccinated 81 percent of residents there.

Dr Manangazira said although effective public health intervention required a vaccination rate of over 80 percent, Government was satisfied that those vaccinated would be able to protect others.

She said vaccination support teams had been deployed to cholera treatment centres to monitor the vaccination status of those presenting with signs and symptoms of the disease.

Dr Manangazira said since the beginning of the vaccination programme, no major side effects had been recorded.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) we vaccinated Members of Parliament and we did not encounter any major side effects," she said. "We have also been getting reports from our team majors and we have not heard of any side effects."

Dr Manangazira said even in countries such as Zambia where the vaccination had been used before, no major side effects had been reported.

Zimbabwe looks forward to vaccinating about 1,4 million residents against cholera from 13 selected high-density suburbs in Harare, Chitungwiza and Epworth.

Budiriro and Glen View suburbs concluded vaccinations against cholera yesterday, while Epworth and Chitungwiza are scheduled to begin on October 15 and 17, respectively.

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