By Willis Oketch
Cholera has struck Coast Province with a vengeance, claiming eight lives a day after health officials reassured the infection was under control.
Coast Provincial Medical Director Maurice Simiyu confirmed six people had died in Mombasa and two others in Malindi District.
"There is an outbreak of cholera in Coast Province, which has resulted in deaths," Dr Simiyu said.
The eighth person died while The Standard team was at the Coast General Hospital, yesterday.
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Simiyu warned the public to be careful with what they eat or drink, as cholera is highly contagious.
"We have dispatched staff to Mombasa and Malindi, where there is an outbreak," he said. The most affected areas are Bombolulu, Kongowea, Maweni and Mishomoroni.
The Chief Administrator at Coast General Hospital Helton Maganga, said he expects the number of patients to rise.
There were nearly 20 patients admitted at the hospital yesterday.
"We have set aside an isolation ward where victims suspected to be suffering from the disease are being admitted," said Dr Maganga.
He said the first patient suffering from cholera was admitted at the hospital on June 2, but died while undergoing treatment.
Subsequently, the hospital decided anybody suffering from stomach problems had to be isolated from other patients until after screening.
A check by The Standard found more patients with stomach ailments still arriving at the isolation ward.
Ms Bahati Musa, who lost her husband, Reuben Maingi, narrated how he was taken ill on Wednesday evening and rushed to Ziwa La Ngombe Health Centre.
She said her husband bought some juice from a kiosk before he started complaining of stomachache.
Peter Kilonzi, who was admitted on Wednesday, also said he took some juice at Kongowea market and started vomiting almost immediately.
Mombasa Municipal Council Public Health Officer Dr Swaleh Chidagaya admitted Kongowea market is dirty and filthy during the rainy season.
In Voi, local DO Geoffrey Kamweru said the Government has banned roasting of green maize and hawking of food in the town.
Meanwhile, the Government says it has contained the spread of cholera in Nyanza.
Nyanza Provincial Director of Public Health and sanitation, Jackson Kioko said consistent public sensitisation campaigns had yielded fruits.
Less than ten people succumbed to the cholera outbreak in January.
"Not more than ten died, but we have intensified campaigns," Dr Kioko said.
— Additional reports by Renson Mnyamwezi and Kepher Otieno