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Typhoid fear grips Mzuzu

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By Samuel Kalimira:

There is a suspected typhoid fever outbreak in Mzuzu City, with Mzuzu Central Hospital (MCH) staff confirming some cases.

However, authorities at MCH have said they are yet to trace the cause of the outbreak.

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There is a possibility that the typhoid outbreak is connected to the filthy Nsilo Waste Management Facility which is posing a health risk to people in surrounding areas.

MCH public relations officer, Arnold Kayira, said the hospital has registered some cases of typhoid fever and that some people who showed symptoms of the disease have died.

He, however, could not mention the exact number of people said to have died.

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“I can confirm that we have such cases here; remember that typhoid is not normal. It is rare and when we have two or three cases, we end up sensitising communities on how best to prevent the further spread of the disease.

“I may not confirm the main source of the infections because we are still conducting investigations. The only thing we can say is that the public should be on alert,” Kayira said.

Head teacher of Nsilo Primary School—which is close to the dumpsite—Joyful Matengera, said several learners at the school showed signs of typhoid and were referred to the hospital.

“Doctors [at Mzuzu Central Hospital] told us the outbreak is due to flies [from Nsilo Waste Treatment Plant Facility] that carry stools.

“As you see, flies are everywhere. The population [of flies] increases during the rainy season and the place stinks. This compromises the quality of education at the school,” Matengere said.

Director of Health at Mzuzu City Council, Augustine Gama, asked for more time before responding to the matter.

But Chairperson of Health Committee at the council, Councillor Peterkins Mbale, said the council is aware of the problem took an initiative by commissioning a grader to cover the dumpsite.

Mbale said the council also sprayed pesticides at the facility as a way of addressing the problem.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, said the ministry is aware of the situation

Most cases of typhoid are sporadic and [do] not [come] as [an] outbreak as was the case in Kasungu and Mzimba, where all cases were confined to the same location.

“The Ministry of Health has managed to control the outbreak so that it did not spread further,” he said.

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection caused by salmonella typhi. Some of the signs and symptoms are high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The infection is often passed through contaminated food and drinking water, and is prevalent in places where there is little hygiene.

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