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Health Ministry warns of cholera outbreak in seven counties

Health & Science - By Gloria Aradi | April 25th 2019 at 10:47:50 GMT +0300

The Ministry of Health has cautioned seven counties to increase surveillance and encourage households to treat their water after these counties cumulatively reported 1,463 suspected cholera infections since the year started.

Out of these reports, 81 individuals have tested positive for cholera, while an additional eight have died, according to data provided by the ministry.

With the start of the rains, the ministry fears, there is a worrying possibility that the infections could rise. The ministry explains, "the risk factors for the transmission of cholera, like unavailability of potable water, poor sanitation and hygiene practices, still persist in high-risk areas and the situation is likely to be exacerbated in view of the upcoming long rains."

The affected counties include Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Garissa and Narok.

"The outbreak is still active in Machakos, Nairobi, Garissa and Kajiado counties," notes the ministry, while also stating that the outbreak in these counties has occurred in two waves.

The ministry further confirmed that the 65 cases of cholera reported at the Nairobi Hospital were caused by unsanitary food served at the hospital's staff cafeteria, affecting mostly hospital staff and students.

"Out of the 10 stool samples taken from the cases and food handlers at the institution for laboratory testing in NPHLS, six tested positive for vibrio cholerae," a statement by the ministry revealed.

The ministry further confirmed the closure and disinfection of the cafeteria, also noting that infection control and prevention measures have been enhanced as investigations over the outbreak in the facility continue.

While the cases in Kajiado County are concentrated in Ongata Rongai, in Nairobi, majority of the incidents have been in five sub-counties; Starehe, Embakasi East, Embakasi West, Kibra and Mathare.

On the other hand, the majority of the cases in Garissa County have been concentrated at the Hagadera Refugee Camp.

Wajir and Marsabit have also reported cases of cholera, with Wajir reporting 35 and Marsabit 260, out of which 100 have tested positive.

At the same time, the ministry noted that it has increased screening at points of entry into the country in a bid to prevent the breakout of Ebola.

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