Delmas diarrhoea started with water contamination

The initial cause of the diarrhoea outbreak in Delmas was water contamination, said Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla on Thursday.

“When we noticed the outbreak in October, we discovered that the water was contaminated,” he said.

However, Makwetla said that more cases were reported after the water was purified to meet quality standards.

It is still not known what the current cause of the diarrhoea is, and this has led to food samples—like milk—being sent to laboratories for tests.

A total of 842 people have received medical treatment for the stomach disorder since October 22.

Authorities were working “round the clock” to establish what caused an outbreak of diarrhoea in Delmas, the Mpumalanga health department said on Wednesday—though the Treatment Action Campaign in the province accused the department of covering up the cause of the outbreak.

“The problem has stabilised to a certain level because in early November we were receiving 80 cases a day, but now it has come down. We only received 37 cases today [Thursday],” Makwetla said on Thursday.

The premier told journalists that work has begun on a water pipeline linked from Gauteng Rand Water to Delmas to ensure people receive purified water. This will cost the municipality R53-million.

Four people died when the area was hit by typhoid in September 2005, but so far there has been no typhoid link.—Sapa

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