Nkangala: Following heavy rainfall emanating from Tropical Cyclone Eloise, the Mpumalanga Department of Health is sending a stern warning against widespread of waterborne and vector diseases. The department has noted that, considering the current situation, there is high anticipation of outbreaks related to waterborne diseases like watery acute diarrhea such as cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and vector borne diseases including malaria and Rift Valley Fever. Dumisani Malamule, Mpumalanga Health Department Spokesperson, cited that they have activated outbreak response teams at all levels that will provide public health response.

“Among others, the team will be conducting environmental surveillance to identify communities at risk on matters relating to unsafe water supply, inadequate sanitation and malaria breeding sites. They will also ensure that there adequate resources for management of acute watery diarrhea and malaria,” Malamule said.

He added that they will also ensure that all patients presenting with flu-like symptoms are tested for both malaria and Covid-19, as malaria symptoms are mimic to those of Covid-19. Health Department MEC, Sasekani Manzini, cautioned residents to consume healthy foods and clean water. The MEC advised the public to avoid foods and water where there is high probability of infections.“Practice personal hygiene by washing your hands before eating any food, eat fresh foods and always ensure that they are covered and consume cleaned and boiled water,” said Manzini.

Manzini indicated that as the malaria season is still on, it is expected that the incidence of the disease will be on sharp increase in the next coming days. “The community is requested to be aware of flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, cols shivers, sweats and muscle pains. We therefore encourage people to visit their nearest health facilities if these symptoms are available it is our duty to ensure that people are safe and to prevent the loss of life by all means,” said Manzini.

The MEC revealed that the province has experienced a decline in malaria infections in the 2020/2021 financial year. “To date, a total number of one thousand and ninety eight cases were reported compared to 2019/2020 where three thousand and ninety three cases were reported which translate into 35% decline,” detailed the MEC. Manzini said eleven malaria related deaths were reported in three districts in the current financial year compared to 13 cases reported in the 2019/2020 financial year.

“The current total malaria cases for this financial year is two hundred and twenty eight compared to two hundred and eighty five reported by this time last year,” she said.

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