The City of Cape Town says it notes the continued circulation of fake news around the presence of typhoid in the municipal water supply.
The false information is spread through social media posts and via messaging platforms. The limited cases of typhoid in Cape Town are isolated and not linked to a common food or water source.
‘As previously stated by the City all drinking water samples taken from the municipal supply tested at the City’s Scientific Services Laboratory in Athlone complied with the South African National Drinking Water Standard on Acute Health Determinants and pose no health risk to the public,’ said the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross.
Drinking water quality across the City is monitored regularly and according to the strict South African National Standard for Drinking Water, SANS:241 and no cases of typhoid fever has been linked to the municipal water supply.
Typhoid is spread via the faeces of an infected person. Person to person transmission occurs when another person consumes food or water that has been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person, usually via unwashed hands.
Symptoms of the disease are high fever, tiredness, headaches, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhoea and it may take between five and 21 days for symptoms to become evident after exposure.
In terms of South African Health legislation, the relevant local authority must be notified when a case of typhoid fever has been confirmed to enable investigation to prevent further spread.
‘With each case, a detailed investigation is carried out to establish where the infected person could have been exposed to the bacteria. This includes travel history, exposure to visitors from outside the City, source and storage of drinking water and food, contact with other persons that may have displayed similar symptoms, hand washing practises and source of water used for any home grown vegetables,’ said Councillor van der Ross.
The incidence of typhoid fever has declined in the City of Cape Town area over the last two completed financial years with 25 cases in 2019/2020 and 18 cases in 2020/2021 notified respectively.
In this current financial year, 15 cases have been notified to date with four of these cases being diagnosed in February. These cases are geographically spread across the City and do not appear to be linked to a common food or water source.
The washing of hands is vitally important before any food preparation and after toilet use or contact with faeces or vomit to prevent multiple gastrointestinal infections.
City Health inspects food premises on a regular basis as well as takes samples to ensure that hygiene practises are maintained at premises that sell food to the public.
Regulations covering food premises also require that all staff have been trained in safe food practises and the City offers this training free of charge to the informal sector.
Report water-related concerns
If residents have any concerns related to the quality of the water, they need to please report it via the following channels to arrange for a sample to be taken:
· Call 0860 103 089
· Online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests
· Email firstname.lastname@example.org
· SMS 31373 (Maximum 160 characters)
Visit a City walk-in centre (see www.capetown.gov.za/facilities to find the one closest to you)