The southern African country suffered the continent’s worst cholera outbreak in 15 years between August 2008 and June this year after its public health and water and sanitations systems collapsed.

A new unity government formed by rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has managed to stabilise the economy, re-open hospitals and restore some water supplies, but the latest outbreak shows the disease remains a threat.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change said on Friday it would boycott cabinet meetings because of problems in the unity government, raising fears progress would unravel.

A senior Health Ministry official, Gerald Gwinji, told the state-controlled Herald that the five deaths had been recorded from 117 cases in the Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces.

"Most of the cases were recorded … among religious objectors, who for a long time have been reluctant to seek medical attention," Gwinji said.

Aid agencies have warned that while conditions have slightly improved since last year’s cholera outbreak, water supply and sanitation problems that led to the epidemic still largely exist. – Reuters