Cholera Outbreak Kills Ten More Civilians in South Africa

On Sunday, the provincial health department in the South African province of Gauteng reported 19 new cases of cholera, including 10 fatal cases, in Hammanskraal.

After the cholera virus entered the country from Malawi in February, South Africa confirmed its first cholera death.

The number of cholera cases nationwide as of Sunday was unknown, but Gauteng, the region with the highest population and where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located, has been particularly severely struck.

The most recent outbreak in South Africa occurred in 2008–2009, when 12,000 cases were reported as a result of an outbreak in neighboring Zimbabwe, which resulted in an increase in imported cases and local transmission in the process.

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Cholera is primarily spread through contaminated food or water and can result in acute diarrhoea, vomiting, and weakness. If left untreated, it can kill within hours.

Cholera can also live in the environment in brackish rivers and coastal waters. Shellfish eaten raw have been a source of infection.

Cholera infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can be severe. Approximately 1 in 10 people who get sick with cholera will develop severe symptoms such as watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

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