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Three die after inhaling toxic gas in Nairobi estate while boiling githeri

By Cyrus Ombati | June 14th 2017

A family of three was Tuesday found dead in their rooms after they had apparently inhaled poisonous gas from a burning jiko in Nairobi's Dandora estate.
The bodies of Jackson Ogutu Otieno, 33, his wife Gorretti Otieno, 22 and their daughter Keyla Owino aged four years were found lying on their beds long after they had passed on, authorities said.
Buruburu police boss Geoffrey Maiyek said the caretaker of the apartment where the family stayed became curious after failing to see the occupants leave there on Tuesday morning.
"When he checked he realized the door was locked from inside. It was then that he called neighbours and police who broke in and found the bodies therein," he said.
The bodies were found at about 2pm long after they had died.
Maiyek added that they also found a jiko in the two roomed house and there was githeri in a sufuria.
"We suspect they died out of poisoning that came from the burning jiko but we will know more after conducting postmortem on the bodies," said the police boss.
In Kenya, it is more commonly known as the silent killer for victims whose only mistake is an innate desire to keep warm behind closed doors during the cold weather.
Maiyek advised families to avoid using jikos in warming themselves. This follows similar incident last year in which three people died in Mukuru slums in Nairobi, due to carbon monoxide poisoning as they were boiling githeri (a mixture of beans and maize), on a jiko.
Another woman died in Embakasi area in similar circumstances last February.
Police said she had tried to use a burning jiko to boil a concoction of herbal medicine to treat her flu when she died.
Officials have advised members of the public to ensure their rooms are well-ventilated before lighting jikos indoors.
"If you light a jiko, make sure you open the windows so that the air can circulate. Carbon monoxide poisoning often requires immediate hospital admission and may be even to the high-dependency unit. "If a person is found to have inhaled carbon monoxide and is not dead, administering oxygen as soon as possible could save them," said a medical doctor aware of the trend.

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