2000 - Dysentery in Lesotho
28 January 2000
Disease Outbreak Reported
On 12 January 2000, the Minister of Health announced that an outbreak of diarrhoea was occurring in Mohale's Hoek district in the southern area of the country. A team from the Ministry of Health was sent to the affected area and was joined by an epidemiologist and water sanitation officer from the WHO office.
The WHO team visited the 2 health centres where most cases had been reported and checked the records from January 1997 to 15 January 2000 which showed that the number of cases had risen beyond the expected seasonal figures from November 1999 to January 2000. As of 15 January 2000 a total of 1 862 cases with 28 deaths had been reported and adults were more affected than children.
Problems identified were lack of protection of latrines and inadequate water supplies. All unprotected water springs/wells which were inspected were contaminated while most of the protected springs had good quality water.
Control measures were initiated which included intensive health education and case management. Laboratory confirmation of the causative pathogen and analysis of sensitivity to drugs is still awaited. Currently the number of cases appears to be decreasing and the Ministry of Health has sufficient medical supplies to deal with this outbreak.