A cholera outbreak has been reported in Nairobi’s Weston Hotel where doctors were attending a science conference.
According to the Nairobi County government health official, Bernard Muia, the guests started experiencing symptoms similar to those of cholera such as vomiting and intense diarrhoea.
Muia said that out of the 400 people in attendance at the conference, 10 of them were critically ill and had since been admitted at the Nairobi Hospital.
“Those affected have already been admitted to hospital, we are not sure whether it is indeed cholera but we are still investigating. We have already collected samples for testing and we will issue an alert if it is indeed cholera,” said Muia.
The county health chief however said that the doctors had not yet confirmed whether it was cholera but all fingers point towards food poisoning or a water borne disease.
“We suspect that those infected had consumed water that was not clean or are suffering from food poisoning. I was personally there and managed to rush them to hospital for treatment and testing for cholera,” he said.
There were however conflicting accounts on the number of people infected as other reports indicated that a total of 47 people had tested positive for the disease.
Dr George Nyale, chairman of the conference, confirmed the outbreak, saying there was no cause for alarm.
A source that sought anonymity also said that more than thirty people had fallen ill with those critical being rushed to the hospital.
The doctors and other guests were reportedly attending ‘The Kenya International Scientific Lung Health Conference’, which had been organised by the Ministry of Health.
The conference had started on Tuesday and is slated to end today.
Last month, five cases of cholera were reported and clinically confirmed and the victims admitted at the Nairobi hospital for treatment. There had also been three other deaths in the city in parts of Kayole Komarock.
Muia had noted that the disease came from travellers who came to Nairobi from vihiga and were attending a wedding in Karen area.
“The index case according to our disease surveillance team is the Karen wedding where the patients and a number of other people had travelled for a wedding. It is presumed that they spread the disease to city residents but we are putting measures in place to avoid the disease from spreading any further,” Muia had said.
He denied claims that the disease could have been spread by food handlers at the wedding, saying that the county had put strict measures in place to ensure for hygiene.
The workers, who catered for a wedding in Karen, were later tested, found negative and discharged.
Ministry of Health had also issued a statement saying that 146 cholera cases, including four deaths, had been reported across the Country as at May 21.
Director of Medical Services Jackson said Garissa had registered 88 cases, Nairobi 29 cases with one death, Vihiga 15 cases with two deaths, Mombasa two cases, Murang’a 11 cases with one death, and one death in Kiambu.
Cholera is a disease caused by the consumption of contaminated food or water and is most common in places with poor sanitation such as informal settlements.
Symptoms of the disease include Diarrhoea which comes on suddenly and may quickly cause dangerous fluid loss as much as one litre per hour, nausea and vomiting which may persist for hours at times and general weakness of the body. Dehydration is also a symptom of the disease.
These symptoms develop within a few days of infection, although they can sometimes occur after just a few hours.