Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya says cholera cases have increased to 39 in Lusaka district affecting Chipata, Mazyopa, Kanyama and Ngombe areas.

In a ministerial statement to Parliament yesterday, Dr Chilufya said although one death had been recorded, it hadn’t yet been established whether cholera was the cause.

“Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that there is an outbreak of cholera in Lusaka district in areas like Chipata, Mazyopa, Kanyama and Ng’ombe. There is also on record one patient who traveled from Kansenga in Chisamba district who was diagnosed upon arrival in Lusaka. We further note, Madam Speaker, that there has been a reported death of a three months old baby due to a diarrhea condition which has not been confirmed as cholera. The patient died upon arrival at the facility. As we speak, there is no fatality from the facility but there is case brought in dead which is under investigations,” he said.

“As at today, we have recorded 39 cases. 20 out of the 39 stool samples, tested from the affected patients were positive for vibrio cholera. Currently we have five patients under treatment, one at Chipata first level hospital and four at Kanyama first level hospital. 34 have been successfully treated and discharged. Chipata has so far recorded 13 cases while Kanyama has recorded 26 cases.”

Dr Chilufya identified the determinants of the outbreak as mostly boreholes.

“We have identified the determinants of the outbreak in the affected areas such as inadequate access to clean water and poor sanitation. We have specifically identified infected water samples or water sources. Boreholes in Chipata compound specifically B95, Mazyopa school and and A16 as well as B96. And Lusaka water trust tank has indicated contamination with fecal forms. Further analysis has indicated presence vibrio cholera in boreholes B95 and A16,” Dr Chilufya said.

Dr Chilufya also identified the measures which had been put in place to reduce the spread of the disease.

“We have deployed doctors, nurses and health workers to beef up the two health facilities [Chipata and Kanyama]. We have adequate drugs and medical supplies to support patient care. Our public health teams are in the communities to trace all contacts of the infected patients. This is critical in identifying those who may have contracted the infection so that they are screened and given appropriate treatment to stop further spread of the infection,” he said.

“We are now working with LCC, LWS, Zambia National Service, DMMU, WHO, UNICEF and USAID. The LWS has been directed to supply clean water at no cost to affected communities. We have also stepped up efforts together with LCC to clean public places. Street vendors and the public at large are being engaged to address the potential risk of spreading the disease through food sold in the open and on the streets. We have met the street vendors from Kanyama and engaged them to ensure that they stop street vending in the affected areas.”

He appealed to members of the parliament to sensitize their people on the outbreak.

“I appeal to MPs to participate in their provinces in sensitizing the public on outbreak of water borne disease especially as the rain season is roaming. Cholera is a water borne disease caused by a bacteria called vibrio cholera mainly spread through the fecal oral route. Symptoms include diarrhea or vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle cramps and body weakness. If untreated can result in rapid dehydration and death within 24 hours. The current outbreak was declared on October 6, 2017 after laboratory confirmation of the two initial cases that was presented to Chipata Level hospital facility on October 4, 2017,” said Dr Chilufya.