Typhoid: 'People are carriers, not water'

It is not yet conclusive that the source of the typhoid outbreak in Delmas was the town’s water, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry said on Saturday.

Karin Bosman, the department’s director of water-resource protection and waste, said tests run so far have not shown any presence of the bacteria.

“None of the tests done so far show that the typhoid is definitely in the water,” she said. “Tests done on Monday and released on Wednesday showed there was nothing in water where we took samples.”

More tests were done on Thursday with samples taken from different points within the water system.

“We are waiting for the results of these to come back. Hopefully, we will have them back on Monday,” Bosman said.

She said the preferred route for the typhoid bacteria is food and people not adhering to proper hygienic practices such as washing their hands after using the toilet.

“Typhoid is an opportunistic bacteria which is usually transferred from person to person rather through water. It also likes to attack the weak, such as your elderly people,” she said.

Bosman said typhoid carriers are people and not water, and that a person could be a carrier and not fall ill.

So far, three people have died in Mpumalanga since the outbreak of typhoid on August 22.

Mpumalanga health department spokesperson Mpho Gabashane said the government is doing its utmost to stabilise the impact and prevent further outbreaks of typhoid and diarrhoea in the Delmas municipality.

Thirteen nurses and 90 “health promotion workers” have been sent to the area to help out and conduct door-to-door visits to encourage members of the community to report early symptoms of the disease.

Following Premier Thabang Makwetla’s visit on Thursday, the municipality has been told to enter into possible discussion with the Rand Water board about water provision to Delmas.—Sapa

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