Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed a typhoid outbreak around Zalewa area in Neno East and has since linked it to a similar outbreak reported in Malosa, Zomba in July this year.
MoH said investigations (blood culture) in the cases reported, conducted through testing strains from samples collected, found Salmonella typhi, a similar bacterium that was found in the Zomba outbreak.
However, MoH could not provide immediate statistics on how many cases have been registered since the outbreak occurred. It is suspected that the outbreak occurred last week.
MoH spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe, speaking in a telephone interview yesterday, said after the outbreak was established, the ministry tried to check the movements of the patients and established that there were cases of migration from Zomba.
He said: “However, we have already commenced treatment of the cases and the outbreak is under control. The Zomba outbreak is also under control at the moment as apart from treating registered cases and providing chlorine for people to use in treating their water, we also intensified surveillance in the affected areas.”
The Zomba typhoid outbreak, which specifically affected Malosa Secondary School, St. Luke’s College of Nursing and St. Luke’s Hospital, as of July 9 2016, had 348 cases reported cumulatively.
It came on the heels of a similar outbreak which MoH also registered in Nsambe area in Traditional Authority (T/A) Dambe in Neno. The outbreak attacked 130 people but unlike a similar one which claimed 35 lives in the same area in 2011, no deaths were reported in the recent one.
In another development, by yesterday, MoH registered nine new cholera cases from Zomba (eight) and Machinga (one), specifically from Lake Chilwa area. Cholera outbreak in Zomba and Machinga districts were first reported on December 19 2015.
Commenting on the cholera cases, Chikumbe said recently MoH vaccinated people around Lake Chilwa against cholera but this was at a radius of six kilometres from the lake.
In January this year, MoH said that zimbowera (temporary shelters constructed on the waters), which people around Lake Chilwa reside in, are one of the reasons the area continued to register high numbers of cholera cases as people use the lake, which is a source of their drinking water, as a latrine.