At least 178 casesĀ  of cutaneous larva migrans also known as the sandworm infection have been reported in the Dwala resettlement area in Gwanda district, although many more villagers are believed to have been affected by the disease.

Cutaneous larva migrans is a skin disease in humans caused by larva of parasites of the hookworm family.

The recent wet spell which also saw most areas in Gwanda experiencing heavy floods triggered the outbreak and spread of various diseases such as the sandworm infection.

The disease is transmitted to humans when they come into contact with soil that has been contaminated with larvae from animal feaces.

Villagers from Dwala resettlement area who spoke to the ZBC News said most people got infected by the worm at the height of the heavy rains.

Some villagers who have since received treatment say they had been experiencing intense itchiness on affected areas of the body.

The Department of Civil Protection chairperson Ms Sithandile Ncube says the disease which affected at least 178 people in 15 villages has been contained with the Ministry of Health and Child Care having given assurance that it has adequate medicines to treat affected patients.

Meanwhile, communities have been urged not to shun mass drug administration programmes which are routinely carried out by the health ministry.

The Veterinary Services Department on the other hand implored villagers to de-worm domesticated animals regularly and for communities to use proper sanitation facilities in order to break the life cycle of the hook worm.