Zimbabwe declares a state of emergency after at least 20 people from the capital city of Harare died from cholera in the past week.
As of this writing, the number of people who have been infected by the disease has now climbed to 2,000.
State Of Emergency
"The city of Harare, they're the big problem," Obadiah Moyo, the city's health minister, stated on Tuesday, Sept. 11. "This whole problem is a result of blocked sewers. And these were reported and were never repaired for at least two months."
He also told reporters during the press conference that the city has already started efforts to control the outbreak. City officials are in the process of repairing blocked sewers in order to prevent further contamination.
Harare has also decommissioned boreholes and closed wells in affected suburbs. Schools have also been suspended in several areas across the city.
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is spread when a fecal matter comes into contact with drinking water and food. People infected with this disease will experience diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, and low blood pressure.
In more serious cases, patients with cholera might develop acute renal failure, severe electrolyte imbalance, severe dehydration, or coma. However, with proper care and antibiotics, chances of patients dying from cholera is low.
Mr. Moyo hopes that declaring a state of emergency will help the local government contain the cholera outbreak, which has also already spread in the provinces of Masvingo and Manicaland.
Cholera Outbreak In Zimbabwe
Small outbreaks of cholera happen more frequently in Zimbabwe. Last month, the city of Gweru also experienced an outbreak that killed three people.
However, the most serious outbreak of cholera that the country had experienced in the recent years happened between 2008 and 2009 when 98,000 people got sick and more than 4,200 people died.
The current economic situation in Zimbabwe has contributed to the frequency of cholera outbreaks in the country. The illness spread a lot easier with more people coming into the city to look for work and live in ramshackle. The sewer system becomes overburden by the overpopulation.
The government said that they are doing everything that they can to control the cholera outbreak in the country even if they are hindered by the economic crisis. The opposition, meanwhile, is criticizing the current administration for mismanagement.
In 2016, the United States recorded 14 cases of cholera. No deaths were reported.