No fatalities have been registered in Ramotswa after all their 168 cases of diarrhoea outbreak were safely dealt with.
The South East District Health Management Team (DHMT) told The Monitor that they have since discharged all the diarrhoea patients, mostly children
DHMT head, Ellen Rannoba said that no fresh cases were recorded last week adding that there was a decrease, which could only mean the situation was being contained.
Though she admitted that this was a first in the district and that the situation is more prevalent in Ramotswa of all places, “it is an alert not an outbreak”, added Rannoba.
Incidents of diarrhoea, especially in the under-five demography have been rife, constituting 123 of the total cases, the DHMT head said at a media briefing in Ramotswa recently.
Thirty-eight (38) children under the age of five and only three adults were admitted since the end of July at the Bamalete Lutheran Hospital.
“We have since discharged all of them. We do not have any patient admitted due to diarrhoea as we speak.
“Around the same period, no deaths have been recorded except for the two who were brought in already deceased with unknown cases. We still await postmortem results,” Rannoba said
“It could have been an outbreak if we had reached a certain number. Had we, say, recorded 52 cases within a week for the under-five’s cases for instance, that is when it could qualify to be an outbreak,” she added.
Taung has registered eight cases while no referrals for admission have been made. Otse recorded six cases out of which two children under five were referred for admission and Mogobane had five cases of which only one admission referral was made. These make up 19 of the 168 cases recorded in the South East district.
Causes of the outbreak are still yet unknown, according to health officials owing to shortage of rapid test kits for rotavirus.
To this end, Rannoba said they have eliminated the possibilities of bacteria and parasites as the causes through sample tests.
They however await confirmation of the third commonest cause, viral infections, if they are behind the situation in Ramotswa.
Principal laboratory scientist, Keabetswe Ramalepa said virus could be the only causative factor since the other two have been eliminated. Delays in procuring these testing kits have resulted in delays in confirmation.
However, patients continue to receive viral treatment.
Ramalepa and other experts repeatedly divorced water contamination and shortages that Southern Botswana has been experiencing from the ‘outbreak’, citing that the current water situation has been present yet the area has not recorded these many cases previously.
They added that in addition to the viral infection possibility, environmental factors that accustom transitions in weather patterns might have contributed to the status quo.
“Environmental factors as well as weak immunes systems of the under fives are likely to be the causative factors, not the water situation,” Dr Musangilaie Balanga of Bamalete Lutheran Hospital said.
The latest country mortality report released by Statistics Botswana in late 2014 indicates a 21.9 percent and 3.6 percent decline in infant and under-five mortality in 2010 and 2011 respectively.