South Africa’s Cape Town hit by diarrhoea outbreak

Cape Town, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) A diarrhoea outbreak has gripped the city of Cape Town, leading to the deaths of at least two children and the hospitalization of hundreds of other kids, according to official statistics released on Monday.

Nearly 300 were admitted at Red Cross Children’s Hospital between November and December, while more than 2, 500 children have been treated at local clinics with moderate to severe dehydration due to diarrhoea, the Mayoral Committee for Health (MCH) said.

Among the patients, at leas two children, less than five-year- old, have died, the committee said.

MCH spokesman Sandile Bontsa said the number of diarrhoea cases seen in children this season had gone up slightly compared with last year at this time.

Only 57 children out of 2, 519 were treated for severe dehydration, he said, adding that authorities were bracing themselves as the worst time was yet to come.

In informal settlements, where there is poor sanitation, residents are particularly at risk, Bonstsa said.

Summer time is the season for diarrhoea outbreaks which usually start around November and peak during February and March. It is the time when bacteria breeds due to heat, leading to serious gastric illnesses.