A three month old baby has become the first casualty of the latest cholera outbreak to hit Lusaka, the capital city.
Parliament heard on Thursday that the victim, a three month baby was certified dead within minutes of arrival at Chipata Level One Hospital on 4th October 2017.
The Zambian government declared the current cholera outbreak on 6th October 2017 after laboratory confirmation of two initial cases that presented to Chipata Level One Hospital on 4th October, 2017.
Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said as at 6PM on 11th October, the cumulative number of cases was 37.
Dr Chilufya said the child tested positive to the cholera rapid diagnostic test.
He said 20 out of the 37 stool samples tested from the affected patients were positive for Vibrio cholera.
Dr Chilufya said currently only three patients are under admission and receiving appropriate treatment at Chipata and Kanyama Cholera treatment centers.
He said one patient, a child, absconded aided by the mother from Kanyama Cholera treatment center while the other patients stabilized after receiving treatment and have since been discharged.
“Risk factors associated with Cholera in the affected communities include poor hygienepractices, erratic supply of clean water, and poor sanitation,” Dr Chilufya said.
“As of this date, five (5) water samples tested from Chipata compound, specifically from boreholes B95, Mazyopa School and A16 as well as the B96 andLusaka water trust tanks indicatedcontamination with fecal coliforms. Further analysis indicated presence of Vibrio choleraein boreholes B95 and A16.”
He added, “I wish to inform the House that currently there are confirmed cases of Cholera in Chipata, Mazyopa, Kanyama, and Ngombe compounds of Lusaka District. There is also on record one patient who travelled from Kasenga village in Chisamba District who was diagnosed upon arrival in Lusaka.”
Cholera is a disease caused by bacteria called Vibrio cholerae, mainly spread through contaminated food and water.
Symptoms include acute onset of diarrhea and/or vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, and body weakness.
If untreated, the infection can result in rapid dehydration and death within 24 hours.
Dr Chilufya said Government has no option but to shut down the affected boreholes in its quest to stop the spread of the disease.
He said Cholera treatment centers have been opened in Chipata and Kanyama to specifically manage Cholera cases.
“These have been staffed with Doctors, nurses and other health workers. The treatment centers have also been provided with adequate medical supplies and drugs to support patient care,” Dr Chilufya said.