Kenya cholera outbreak affects 14 districts

March 31, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 31 – At least 14 districts have so far been affected by a cholera outbreak that has left 32 people dead, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

Director of Public Health, Dr Shahnaaz Sharif told Capital News on Tuesday that Moyale and Siaya districts had collectively reported 36 new cases of cholera in the last 24 hours.

“Moyale has reported 28 cases, while Siaya has eight new cases,” Dr Sharif said.

He said a total of 1,097 cases of diarrhoea had been reported, out of which 141 had been confirmed as cholera cases.

“Cholera is manifested by diarrhoea. We take a few samples and if they turn out positive for cholera we do not confirm for the rest because it is very expensive to confirm for all,” he explained.

“So we classify everyone who comes in with diarrhoea as cholera.”
The first case of cholera was reported in December last year in Nyanza and Dr Sharif said the province was still at risk together with Moyale, Athi River and Isiolo.

“You know this is the longest drought we have had since 1983, and there is no water, so people will get it (cholera) from any source and that’s why we are working very closely with the Ministry of Water because the issue is water and sanitation,” he said.

“If you don’t have clean water, you will have cholera and the Ministry of Water is now taking water tankers to those affected areas,” Dr Sharif added.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has said that the long rains have started in all parts of the country apart from North Eastern, where it is expected to begin on Wednesday.
Assistant Director Ayub Shaka however told Capital News that the country could be faced with another failed rain season, as only Western Kenya would receive adequate rainfall in the March to May long rains season.

“The rest of the country will experience depressed (minimal) rainfall,” he said.

“It’s only in May when almost every part of the country will receive normal rainfall, but again North Eastern will not get the normal rainfall,” Mr Shaka added.

He however said the rain would not be continuous and the country would experience dry spells in between.

“And despite the fact that some of areas like the arid and semi arid will have minimal rainfall, they can still experience one or two storms, which can cause havoc,” the Deputy Director said.

Mr Shaka noted that central parts of the country would have minimal rainfall apart from May, when the area would receive increased rainfall. The Rift valley, which is classified as the bread basket of the country will also receive minimal rain.

According to the department, Embu which is in the central part of the country recorded the highest amount of rainfall in the last 24 hours at 57mm, while Nairobi collected 6.9mm.

“If you get something like say over 10mm, that’s good rainfall anything less than that, is still good rainfall but you might not notice it after a day or two,” he said.

“I would encourage farmers to use agricultural officers so that they can be advised properly and also continue monitoring the weekly weather bulletins and updates for the seasonal rainfall, because in between you can have rapid change.”


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