JUST when the nation was hopeful that the further spread of cholera was slowing coming under control in Lusaka, the city is faced with a suspected outbreak of Typhoid.
This is another infectious disease caused by a bacteria called salmonella typhimurium, spread through food or water and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Maxwell Bweupe, says samples have been taken for testing from people who have so far exhibited symptoms of the disease for confirmation.
Kamwala ward five is among areas that have recorded suspected typhoid cases with some patients receiving treatment at Kamwala Health Centre.
“Basically the information we have is that we have treated a number of people who are presenting symptoms that look like typhoid, we will confirm and give you feedback as soon as we have something definitive,” Dr Bweupe said.
This news is worrying especially that it comes in the wake of the ravaging cholera epidemic that has spread across Lusaka.
Since the cholera outbreak was first reported a couple of weeks ago, up to 130 confirmed cases of the disease, including that of a pregnant mother has been recorded.
In Zambia, outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases are common in the rainy season but it is scary that these have manifested before the wet season.
We wonder what will happen when the rainy season starts. And unless people observe high standards of hygiene, we are afraid the city risks being hit by a health crisis.
Already, 80 percent of the water sources in Lusaka are contaminated, frankly this situation calls for stepped up efforts not only to contain cholera but to prevent the imminent outbreak and spread of suspected Typhoid.
Given the gravity of the situation, there is need for the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to moot radical measures to ameliorate this worrisome state of affairs in Lusaka.
If confirmed, the outbreak of typhoid will only not aggravate the health risk in Lusaka but will further affect the economic activities in the city. Worse still, this may over-stretch the limited medical personnel.
We therefore urge the government to urgently implement stringent prevent measures to avert the suspected typhoid outbreak such as intensifying the distribution of chlorine to all affected households.
The Ministry of Health should also intensify public awareness programmers to the affected areas to prevent the possible spread of the suspected disease.
Government should not wait until the suspected cases are confirmed. Now is the time to be proactive with nonstop sensitisation programmes.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.