The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Surge in Diarrheal Disease Cases Amongst Children Prompts City Health Alert

Michael Hawthorne

CAPE TOWN – With a staggering increase of more than 7,500 cases of diarrhoea in children under the age of five during November and December, City Health is urging parents to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to protect their children. The surge in cases is attributed to the summer season, which typically sees a rise in diarrhoeal diseases, exacerbated by the recent high temperatures.

City Health has intensified its efforts to educate and raise awareness about diarrheal diseases during the summer months, often referred to as Surge Season, spanning from November to May. Young children are particularly vulnerable to dehydration associated with diarrhoea, and if not treated promptly, it can lead to fatal consequences.

Data from health facilities in the metropole reveals a concerning trend, with 7,533 recorded cases of diarrhoea in children under five during November and December 2023, marking a significant increase of 40% compared to the same period the previous year when 5,370 cases were reported.

Councillor Patricia van der Ross, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “The statistics serve as a reminder of just how serious we all need to take surge season, especially with the prevailing high temperatures. At the first sign of diarrhoea, start using an oral rehydration solution immediately, and seek medical help.”

She further highlighted the importance of handwashing, hygiene, and safe food handling practices during warmer months to prevent the spread of germs. “Let’s work together and keep surge season top of mind, particularly where our young children are concerned,” added Councillor van der Ross.

City Health recommends minimizing the risk of diarrhoea through regular and thorough handwashing, following the World Health Organization’s five keys to safer food, and administering oral rehydration solutions immediately in the event of loose stools. The public is urged to be aware of symptoms of dehydration and seek medical assistance promptly.

As surge season continues, the City’s Health Department emphasizes that preventative measures are crucial to reducing the risk of children contracting diarrhoea and other serious secondary infections.

Find your nearest clinic.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top