South Africa has recorded two confirmed imported cases of cholera, the health department said on Sunday, calling for vigilance.
The cases were among sisters who had traveled in January to Malawi, where a cholera outbreak since last year has claimed more than 1,000 lives as of January, the highest on record in the country.
“Both patients had developed symptoms upon their return to Johannesburg,” the health department said in a statement.
WORST OUTBREAK OF CHOLERA IN 2 DECADES BREAKS MALAWI, CLAIMS 750 LIVES
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“A close contact (household relative) of one of the patients was admitted to hospital on February 4 with diarrhea and dehydration, and is considered a possible case,” he said, adding that laboratory test results were pending.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae and can be fatal if left untreated. It is mainly transmitted by contaminated food and water.
Cholera is not endemic in South Africa, the health department said. The last outbreak in the country was in 2008/2009, when around 12,000 cases were reported following an outbreak in neighboring Zimbabwe that led to a surge in imported cases and subsequent local transmission.