- South Africa has its first cholera outbreak since 2009. On Sunday, the Gauteng health department announced that the outbreak has now also spread to Hammanskraal near Tshwane, with 19 new confirmed cholera cases and 10 deaths. The national health department says seven more cases have also been confirmed in the Free State. Prior to the Gauteng health department’s announcement, the national health department said the national tally of cases stood at 22, but, with the additional cases, that number is now likely well over 30.
- The country’s outbreak started in February after the cholera bug recently travelled to South Africa via people who got infected in Malawi.
- The disease is caused by a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae, which normally hitches a ride from one person to another through an infected person’s faeces. The bug spreads when contaminated sewage isn’t disposed of properly, and then comes into contact with water or food that others consume.
- Not everyone will fall seriously ill with cholera. One in 10 people will have severe symptoms which can include watery diarrhoea, thirst and vomiting.
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