Team set to probe Transkei deaths
9 Jun 2009
A team of investigators including an epidemiologist has been set up to probe the deaths of eight men from Mpheko village in Transkei, the Eastern Cape Health Department said on Tuesday.
Spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said though there were claims that the men had died from waterborne disease, it appeared unlikely that this was indeed the case. He said Water Minister Buyelwa Sonjica and Eastern Cape Health MEC Pumulo Masualle met in Mthatha on Tuesday morning.
They had agreed that a task team be set up, and that it be given a week to report on its investigations. It would include two specialist family medicine doctors, an epidemiologist from Walter Sisulu University, and health, environmental, water affairs and municipal officials.
Kupelo said an analysis would be done of the 32 diarrhoea cases treated at the Mpheko clinic in April and May. “What remains strange at this stage is that all the deceased were men,” he said. “When you have an outbreak, you will have women and children being the most vulnerable.”
He said samples taken from natural water sources near the village last week indicated faecal contamination, but this was unlikely to lead to fatalities. In addition, it was too cold for cholera to make an appearance.
Municipal workers had this week repaired the village’s supply of treated water, which had reportedly been non-functional since December.
The department will hold an imbizo at the village on Wednesday to raise awareness around clean drinking water and hygiene.
Issued by: Department of Health, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
9 June 2009
Source: Department of Health, Eastern Cape Provincial Government (http://www.ecdoh.gov.za)
Issued by: Eastern Cape Provincial Government
9 Jun 2009
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