Suspected typhoid outbreak shuts Zimbabwe courts

HARARE Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:59am EST

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HARARE Feb 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has shut down the capital's main courthouse after a suspected outbreak of typhoid affected magistrates and court officials, state media reported on Saturday.

The complex in Harare has had no water for more than two weeks due to a fault in the system that wasn't properly fixed.

Court officials turned away witnesses and suspects and shut down the complex on Friday, after at least five magistrates and 20 clerks were suspected of having contracted the disease, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported.

Typhoid is caused by taking contaminated food or water and results in a fever that can potentially lead to death if not treated.

In December about 1,000 people were treated for typhoid in Harare due to water shortages. At the height of Zimbabwe's economic crisis in 2008, nearly 4,000 people died from a cholera outbreak, mostly in the capital.

Most of the major cities in Zimbabwe face water shortages caused mainly by ageing infrastructure and lack of money to buy water treatment chemicals. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)

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