Polio outbreak declared in Harare suburbs, cholera cases rise

HARARE – The Minister of Health and Child Care, Douglas Mombeshora, has announced a polio outbreak in the Harare suburbs of Budiriro, Mbare, and Mufakose, following the detection of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in a sewage sample.

The Ministry of Health, immediately said, it is taking urgent measures to contain the outbreak and prevent further spread, including activating the Incident Management System, appointing an Incident Manager for Polio response, and implementing a coordinated outbreak response.

Mombeshora also appealed for intervention from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other organisations through financial and technical support.

The polio outbreak comes amid ongoing wild poliovirus transmission in neighboring Mozambique and Malawi, where nine cases have been reported since February 2022.

The wild poliovirus strains found in these countries have been traced back to Pakistan, one of the two remaining endemic countries.

Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus, which can infect a person’s spinal cord and cause paralysis. There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with safe and effective vaccination.

Zimbabwe is also facing a cholera outbreak, with 54 new suspected cases and one death reported yesterday from Chitungwiza.

The cumulative cases since the start of the outbreak are 6,021, with 5,763 recoveries and 167 deaths (44 confirmed and 123 suspected).

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It can cause severe dehydration and death if left untreated.

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