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Bulawayo cases confined in single cluster

by Staff reporter
22 Apr 2020 at 07:33hrs | Views
In Bulawayo all, but one Covid-19 transmissions are connected to the first patient, an elderly man infected by a British visitor and who died in hospital before receiving pathology results.

Harare Province has since overtaken Bulawayo as an emerging epicentre with 13 cases to date, while the latter has 10 confirmed cases.

According to his family, the 79-year-old was misdiagnosed by two private doctors and was receiving the wrong treatment for several days before he was taken to hospital where he was tested, isolated and put on treatment, a few hours before his death.

Since April 7, when this case was confirmed, nine other cases have been confirmed, almost all of whom were direct or secondary contacts of this initial patient or the visitor who infected him.

On 11 April, another man in Bulawayo, who also had contact with the same visitor from Britain, tested positive.

As Government intensified contact tracing, screening and testing in Bulawayo, three more cases tested positive in the city on 13 April, two of which were direct and secondary contacts to the first patient. The other patient had no history of travel or known contact with a confirmed case.

On 15 April, partly as a result of the misdiagnosis of the first Bulawayo case, Government adopted new testing criteria so all people with flu-like symptoms were eligible for Covid-19 testing and should be tested.

Since Covid-19 is a notifiable illness, private practitioners are obliged to tell the health authorities about any suspected or known patient they are treating. Following adoption of this new strategy, Bulawayo tested 23 people, with four testing positive, all living in Bulawayo and all being contacts to one of the previously confirmed cases.

On 16 April, another person, a direct contact of another previously confirmed case also tested positive, bringing the total number of confirmed local transmissions in Bulawayo to 10 so far, nine clustered in a single group.

Earlier, Mashonaland East, recorded one case of a man who had travelled from Dubai, but testing of his contacts found three more people who tested positive. But this time the testing procedure managed to limit the spread of infection.

In contrast, the majority of confirmed cases in Harare so far involve people travelling back to Zimbabwe from either the United States or Europe, although their contacts have been traced.

Explaining why Bulawayo seemed to have more cases of confirmed Covid-19, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said most of its cases were local transmissions in the same cluster.

"We need to test as many people as possible for us to ascertain the magnitude of the problem we have before reaching any conclusion," said Dr Moyo.

Source - the herald