HARARE – The cholera outbreak that hit Zimbabwe has claimed the lives of 25 people, and infected more than 3,000, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced on Thursday.
Although the disease was first detected in the Zimbabwean capital, the most recent reports have revealed it also has affected the nearby town of Chitungwiza and isolated cases have been reported in half of the African nation’s 10 provinces.
The Zimbabwean Health Ministry and the World Health Organization on Thursday disclosed that the disease resists the two types of antibiotics available in the country.
“Relevant medicines should be purchased as a matter of urgency as soon as resistance patterns have been ascertained,” the WHO said.
More than 1,000 ICRC volunteers have been working in Harare’s suburbs to contain the outbreak according to the ICRC general secretary in Zimbabwe, Maxwell Phiri.
To control the disease, Zimbabwean police banned gatherings in Harare’s streets after the health emergency was declared in the capital.
Authorities have also barred selling meat and fish in the affected areas, with some schools deciding to suspend classes until the disease abates, according to the local newspaper, The Chronicle.
Cholera is contracted through food or water and causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and can be fatal, if not treated.
Between 2008-2009, more than 4,000 people died within nine months and 90,000 people were infected during the worst cholera epidemic recorded in Zimbabwe.