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Isolated Fresh Cholera Outbreak Worries Zimbabwe Health Officials

Zimbabwe's health ministry says it is concerned about a fresh cholera outbreak in Chiredzi, a district in Masvingo Province, where one person has died, with 22 others being treated at various clinics.

Epidemiology and disease control director in the health ministry, Dr. Portia Manangazira, says the government has declared the outbreak, affecting a number of villages in the area, a national priority.

She says her ministry is fighting to ensure the situation is contained to avoid a return to the 2008 epidemic where over 4,000 people lost their lives due to cholera nationwide.

Manangazira told VOA health officials deployed on the ground have discovered a new strain in Chiredzi but said she was impressed with the way district officials have dealt with the outbreak.

She said it is important that everyone in the country continues to be cautious with water that they are using for household purposes.

"Residents should continue being vigilant, making sure they boil their drinking water and practice hygienic sanitary practices in order to curb cholera from resurfacing," said Manangazira.

She urged local authorities to ensure their major water sources are revamped so residents can have access to clean and safe drinking water.

Following the Chiredzi cholera reports, Harare is on high alert, deploying staff to ensure the communicable disease does not re-surface in the capital.

Manangazira urged those suspecting they have cholera to contact their nearest health facilities to avoid unnecessary deaths.