Pain, agony for clan members as mysterious disease kills 30
SEE ALSO :Mother of defiled girl now faces trialTo move around, she crawls while she has partially lost speech and eyesight. Shisakha said one day she woke up and started seeing blurred images and was unable to speak well. “I can only see a person who is 10 metres away,” she said. The victim’s hands and legs also started weakening in May 2014 and after a month she was completely paralysed. Patrick Mbakaya, 52, moved from Shinyalu to Ebukhulunya village, Mahiakalo ward, hoping to escape from the condition. However, he developed the condition five years ago when working as a chef in a one hotel in Nairobi. Mr Mbakaya also started seeing blurred images and his body weakened forcing his employer to relieve him of his duties. His hands and legs became limp a year after losing eyesight. Tests in different hospitals did not return positive for any disease. Of the 11 children he sired with his two wives, six died before celebrating their 10th birthday.
SEE ALSO :Police holding man who defiled sisterMedical experts have ruled out the possibility of genetics in what is bedeviling members of the clan. Dr Gordon Nguka, who has on many occasions visited the victims, has advised them to undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to ascertain what is ailing them. Dr Nguka, a Dietetics and Pediatric Physiology specialist said the victims’ limited access to resources and poor sanitation could be exposing them to the condition. “The families are vulnerable to various ailments including infections by the pathogenic micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses and fungi including congenital malformations as a result of poor nourishment of the pregnant and lactating women,” he said. “These conditions may lead to an ailing population with inherent social, economic and environmental vulnerability whose cure is in education for sustainable development,” he added. He further noted that most affected families are living in houses made of cow dung which makes them susceptible to diseases such as salmonella, listeria and Escherichia coli, which are pathogens that can cause illness in human beings. Muscle weakness “Listeriosis is caused by listeria monocytogenes and affects people with weak immune system. The symptoms are muscle aches, fever and sometimes diarrhea and nausea. If the nervous system is affected, it may result to convulsions, confusion and loss of balance,” he said. Issah Kweyu, from the department of Health Promotions and Sports Science at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology suspects the victims could be suffering from poliomyelitis which causes muscle weaknesses resulting to inability to move mainly affecting the legs but sometimes, the hands, neck, head and the diaphragm. “Many people recover if detected early but those with muscle weakness about 2 -3 per cent of children and 15 -30 per cent of adults die if unattended to. Sometimes flaccid paralysis may occur due to the degeneration of muscles,” Mr Kweyu said. He said some victims got mild stroke which resulted in speech difficulties, paralysis and weakness of one side of the body forcing them to crawl. Eileen Mulaa, a sports and nutrition scientist from the department of Exercise Science and Recreation Sports at Kenyatta University said the swelling of the legs and oozing of fluid from swollen legs is as a result of Edema. Edema is inflammation of body tissues, which occurs when the small blood vessels (capillaries) leak fluid into nearby tissues making the body to swell. “Peripheral edema usually affects the legs and ankles. Sometimes it can happen in the arms. The extra fluid gets out of the leg and is painful,” said Ms Mulaa. She noted that the condition can be managed through physical exercises. Mulaa said exercises relieve stress and anxiety for healthy bones and muscles and improves body flexibility and recommended that victims do physical exercises at least four times a week for 20-30 minutes.