Pretoria – Residents of Hammanskraal and surrounding areas were on Sunday warned by health authorities not to drink tap water after an outbreak of diarrhoeal disease or gastrointestinal infection that has so far claimed six lives.
The situation has been exacerbated by the rising number of laboratory-confirmed cases of cholera.
The City of Tshwane said it “would like to urge communities in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas not to use water from taps for drinking purposes following a health outbreak in the area”.
The City of Tshwane said while the water supplied by the city in Hammanskraal is not potable, however, the city does provide potable (drinkable) water through 52 water tankers to informal settlements three times a week, and 40 water trucks to formal areas daily in Region 2.
“This is done to ensure that communities drink safe water,” said the City of Tshwane.
“The City regularly conducts tests on the quality of water provided to our communities, and following this outbreak, comprehensive tests will be done on the entire water distribution network.
“Water samples have been collected in the affected areas and taken for tests and results are expected on Wednesday to determine the cause of the outbreak.
“Some of the cases reported are from the Moretele area, which is not supplied by the City of Tshwane.”
Officials from the Citys Health Department will visit the affected areas again later Sunday to collect further samples from the water tankers that supply water to the informal settlements.
“The Outbreak Response Teams are on the ground conducting surveillance monitoring and doing sampling of the water,” said the City of Tshwane.
“Communities are urged to present themselves to the nearest health facility immediately when they experience symptoms.
“Health facilities are on high alert to urgently attend to the patients with symptoms.”
The City said it was eagerly awaiting the confirmatory test results from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to establish the cause of the outbreak.
The City said residents in the affected areas must regularly wash the containers they use to draw water from the water tankers with Jik detergent, and to boil water drawn from other sources before drinking it.
Residents were also urged to wash their hands thoroughly with soap before handling food or after using the bathroom to prevent possible infection.
Health authorities have also discouraged communities from conducting religious activities such as baptism in rivers or streams.
For all technical enquiries, please contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases at Media@nicd.ac.za or Sinenhlahla Jimoh on 0826099514.