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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
SA police fire at typhoid protest
By Peter Biles
BBC News, Johannesburg

South African police have used rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of demonstrators who were protesting about an outbreak of typhoid.

The protestors in the town of Delmas, east of Johannesburg, were calling on the local council to resign.

The outbreak in Delmas has already claimed at least four lives, while more than 500 have fallen ill.

State radio said some members of the council had locked themselves inside the building.

The police said they had been forced to open fire with rubber bullets in an effort to break up the demonstration outside.

The reason for so many apparent typhoid-related illnesses is still being investigated, with tests being conducted on water supplies.

Tony Leon, the leader of South Africa's main opposition party - the Democratic Alliance - has gone to Delmas to assess the situation.

His party has already called for an independent commission of inquiry, amid fears that the death toll from typhoid may be far higher than health officials have so far admitted.

Another delegation - from the South African Council of Churches - is also visiting Delmas.

Government critics say the typhoid outbreak is a further example of the government's inability to improve basic services in some of the poorest areas of the country.

Typhoid fever
30 Dec 04 |  Medical notes

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