Current Cholera outbreak in kenya traced to a wedding festival in Kiambu!

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The current outbreak of cholera started on 19th October with its origin being traced to a wedding festival in Kiambu

Cholera patients at a Hospital in Nairobi /Image Courtesy

In the past few months there has been an increase in cases of cholera infection in kenya.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health (MOH) by the end of March 2023, at least 7,800 cases and 122 deaths across the country, and 1,196 of those patients were from Nairobi County.

The current outbreak of cholera started on 19th October with its origin being traced to a wedding festival in Kiambu County where (4) people were reported dead which later spread across counties including Nairobi where 17 cases were reported Murang’a (1), Kajiado ( 2), Nakuru (2) and Uasin Gishu (8) cases .

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.

This February, the Ministry Of Health in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) launched an oral cholera vaccine in the country that targets four counties particularly hard hit by the disease. The 10-day vaccination exercise in Garissa, Tana River, Wajir and Nairobi targeted an uptake of 2.2million doses of the vaccine.

The ministry of health had called on county governments to come up with policies and laws that will guide food vendors on requirements for hygiene standards maintenance to tackle frequent outbreaks of cholera in the country.

Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if left untreated. Unlike other diseases, cholera is declared an outbreak when one case is reported.

Some of the symptoms include a sudden onset of diarrhea which can be quite acute and that can quickly dehydrate the body if not quickly treated. Patients also experience a dry mouth and as a result others include vomiting and nausea.

The rapid loss of body fluids can lead to kidney damage and eventual death in extreme cases some death occurs within four hours of the onset of the symptoms.

The latest case was reported at Homabay County where a 7- year old child succumbed to death as 73 other people fell ill. As the the county government was working to contain the disease, which was first reported last week.

Cholera is a highly infectious disease and spreads quickly, though there is a vaccine, the vaccine is effective for the first six months after vaccination and provides about 85% protection, which decreases to 50 % or 62 % during the first year. After two years, the effectiveness decreases to less than 50 %.

An antibiotic treatment is affordable and easily accessible from the chemist as prescribed by a Doctor.

However, Cholera can be prevented by drinking clean boiled water, covering food, washing hands before eating and after visiting the toilet and cooking food well and also by being vaccinated.

The county governments where cholera cases have been reported are collaborating with the Kenya Red Cross in sensitizing the community about the disease.

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