The Harare City Health Department has conceded that laboratory tests conducted by government analysts and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe have confirmed that fish from Lake Chivero is not contaminated with typhoid bacteria, but the bulk of the fish and other cooked foods that are being sold in open places are getting contaminated due to poor handling by vendors.At the height of the typhoid outbreak in Harare, the local authority collected some food samples from various shopping centres in areas where typhoid had been reported.
The laboratory tests conducted on fish, cooked meat and some vegetables tested positive for salmonella typhi which is the bacteria which causes typhoid.
However, Harare City Health Department Acting Director, Dr Prosper Chonzi clarified the issue saying Lake Chivero is not the source of the bacteria pointing to poor handling by vendors as the problem.
Queried on why the City Health Department mooted the idea of engaging the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Dr Chonzi said the two parties must find a way of ensuring that fishing activities at Chivero or even Darwendale are controlled so that vendors do not end up with too much fish than can be consumed within a limited period to avoid contamination.
By Friday the 10th of this month, 1 644 people had been treated for typhoid at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in the capital.
Due to the rising number of typhoid patients, people suffering from tuberculosis who were admitted at Beatrice Road Hospital had to be transferred to Wilkins Hospital after authorities felt that the risk of cross contamination was high.