Water samples from a river in the Eastern Cape have been sent for analysis following the death of eight people in Mpheko village, the department of water affairs said on Monday.
"The department is conducting a full investigation and has already collected water samples from the traditional water sources in the area, namely Mpheko River and Phantsi Kwentaba Spring. "The results are expected to be released on Wednesday," said spokesman Sputnik Ratau.
Eight people in the Mpheko village near Mthatha were reported to have died after suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. It was suspected the deaths, which occurred in the past few weeks, were caused by drinking polluted water.
No cholera in winter
Eastern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said there was no cholera outbreak in the area. "I can confirm that it's not cholera, because you can't have it in winter."
Ratau said departmental officials had been dispatched to the area, and were working closely with the villagers. "The department will co-ordinate its efforts closely with the provincial department of health and the OR Tambo District Municipality as the water service authority in the area." – (Sapa, June 2009)
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