Diarrhoea outbreak hits Hwange

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More than 200 residents of Empumalanga suburbs in Hwange have been hit by diarrhea in the past few weeks sending people into panic fearing that it might be the more deadly cholera. The diarrhea outbreak is suspected to have been caused by the contaminated water from unprotected sources that the residents have obtaining their water after ZINWA taps ran dry.

However, the ZINWA quality assurance technician, Blessing Tagwirei said that an investigation team has already started testing the water although efforts have been made to ensure that the water meets the World Health Organisation standards.

Tagwirei said that although there have been challenges in locating the exact points of contamination, ZINWA has increased chlorine levels at certain points to create shock along the system as a mitigation measure.

He said that ZINWA is working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care on teaching people about diarrhea which is one of the most common health complaints. It can range from a mild, temporary condition, to a potentially life-threatening one.

Globally, an estimated two billion cases of diarrheal disease occur each year, and 1.9 million children under the age of five, mostly in developing countries, die from diarrhea.

Diarrhea is characterized by abnormally loose or watery stools. Some people frequently pass stools, but they are of normal consistency. This is not diarrhea. Similarly, breastfed babies often pass loose, pasty stools. This is normal. It is not diarrhea.

Diarrhea is when your bowel movements become loose or watery. The definition of diarrhea is passing loose or watery bowel movements 3 or more times in a day (or more frequently than usual).Diarrhea occurs when the lining of the intestine is unable to absorb fluid, or it actively secretes fluid.

In addition to frequent, watery bowel movements, the stool may also contain mucus, pus, blood or excessive amounts of fat. Diarrhea can be accompanied by painful abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, bloating, and generalized weakness.

Diarrhea can cause dehydration, especially in young children and older people. Symptoms of dehydration in adults can include thirst, lack of energy, passing less urine than normal, dizziness or light-headedness, and the skin on the back of your hand being slow to return to position after being pinched upwards.

Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration in children can include dry mouth, passing less urine than usual (often noticed as fewer wet nappies in babies and toddler less tears when crying.

Diarrhea may have many different causes including infection with a virus, bacteria or parasite) a change in diet, food intolerance (e.g. lactose), drinking excess alcohol, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)

Infectious diarrhea is most commonly caused by viruses passed from person to person, or by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with viruses or bacteria.

Medical experts say when there is an outbreak of diarrhea, the disease can be treated by having plenty of fluids, and suitable fluids include water and oral rehydration fluids available in pharmacies and clinics.

Fluids can be replaced by simply drinking more fluids, or they can be received intravenously in severe cases. Children and older people are more vulnerable to dehydration.

Oral rehydration solution or salts (ORS) refers to water that contains salt and glucose. It is absorbed by the small intestine to replace the water and electrolytes lost in the stool. In developing countries, ORS costs just a few cents. The World Health Organization (WHO) says ORS can safely and effectively treat over 90 percent of non-severe diarrhea cases.

Although there has been a lot of panic on the diarrhea outbreak in Hwange,boiling water before usage can make a difference in avoiding diarrhea in our communities

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