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About 59 cholera deaths recorded in South Africa
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21:08, March 09, 2009

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Fifty nine people in South Africa have died since the cholera outbreak spread from neighboring Zimbabwe last November, South African Health Minister Barbara Hogan said on Monday.

Briefing the media in Pretoria, Hogan said the disease had claimed 59 lives from November up until last Saturday.

"One death is too much and we had 59," she said. The minister said 12,324 cases had been reported.

However, she said there had been a steady decline and cholera was mostly confined to Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

"It is present but it is going down. We believe that the cholera situation is very much under control, but it does not mean we are not monitoring," she said.

Hogan was unable to verify if the 59 people who had reportedly died of cholera were all South Africans.

She said she did not have statistics.

Referring to recent deaths from meningitis and fears that there was an outbreak in Gauteng, Hogan said she did not believe this was the case.

Hogan's response came after the provincial health department confirmed that two school children had died of different strains of meningitis in February.

Spokesman JP Louw said media reports had created a public health scare, however only two cases had been confirmed.

"Since this issue went into the media, community members have been going to [Chris Hani] Baragwanath hospital and some of the private clinics. None of them have been admitted," he said.

On February 23, a seven-year-old boy from Emaweni Primary School in Soweto died of viral meningitis. A week earlier, a 15-year-old Mondeor High School girl died of bacterial meningitis.

Source: Xinhua

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