, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – A fast-spreading outbreak of cholera has killed at least 10 people in West Pokot and Kilifi districts, in what the government said on Monday was the worst epidemic since the onset of the current rains.
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo confirmed that eight people had died in West Pokot and that her ministry had dispatched officers to flood-prone regions to sensitise residents on ways to prevent the scourge.
Elsewhere, two children from Matsangoni village, Kilifi are feared to have died of the water-borne disease while four people had been admitted to health centres there.
“For almost a year, we have not had any cholera outbreak in Kisumu, Nyanza which is the traditional area of cholera. That shows that we are really controlling the disease,” Mrs Mugo observed.
“The reason for this is because now they are using more latrines and we want to encourage the building of a latrine in every household.”
“Wash hands at critical moments especially after using the toilets. Mothers must do the same before feeding babies and when they changed them,” she said. “Observe hygiene by boiling water before drinking especially when you are unsure of its source. Make sure the food is properly cooked.”
In Kilifi, the District Medical Officer of Health Dr David Mulewa denied that anybody had succumbed to the disease, insisting that those admitted to hospital were recording improvements.
“No deaths have been reported as far as the cholera outbreak is concerned,” insisted Dr Mulewa.
However the chairman of Matsangoni health center Henry Wanje said since the outbreak in February this year, about one death had been reported while about 46 patients had been admitted to the health center where they were treated and discharged.
Tabu Ndoro from Uyumbo wireless village in Matsangoni was nursing her seven-year-old son after he developed diarrhea and vomiting symptoms seven days ago.
“My son developed symptoms of the waterborne disease and I took him to the health center where he was admitted,” she told Capital News.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with a bacterium known as Vibrio Cholerae.
Last year, Kenya faced one of the worst cholera outbreaks in a decade and at least 122 people died as a result of the epidemic sweeping across the country.
A total of 10,940 cases were reported from the outbreak, which began in December 2008.