Panic has gripped Kisumu County and its environs after a cholera outbreak killed three people and left 35 admitted to hospital.
Two of those who succumbed were inmates at Kodiaga Maximum Security Prison while the third one lived in Otongolo, a neighbouring community.
County health officials said they were battling the disease but feared it could get out of control because of the ongoing nurses’ strike that has paralysed health services in public facilities.
The outbreak was first reported in Nairobi two weeks ago after several dignitaries, including two Cabinet secretaries, were hospitalised after taking meals during a conference.
Yesterday, Kisumu County Health Chief Officer Ojwang Lusi confirmed the cholera outbreak, adding that a team of public health officers had already been sent to the institution to contain the situation.
Is cholera now a health crisis?
“Let the people of Kisumu know that there is a cholera outbreak and they must take precautionary measures to prevent its spread. There should, however, be no panic as we have the resources to handle the situation,” said Dr Lusi.
As at yesterday, 21 inmates were admitted in isolation with cholera symptoms.
Deputy Commissioner of Prisons in charge of Nyanza, Amos Misik, said the outbreak was discovered last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the number of new cholera cases reported daily has drastically reduced from 60 to 35, Health Cabinet secretary Cleopa Mailu has said.
Through a statement to newsrooms, Dr Mailu said through treatment of water sources, cases of cholera reported in Nairobi and other affected counties had reduced.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero yesterday said there had been no new cases since Thursday last week.
Nairobi’s hard task of fighting cholera
He defended the decision not to close down Weston Hotel, which was among three major institutions where the disease had been reported.
“We investigated and found out that the disease had originated from samosas supplied by a third party,” said Kidero.
At the same time, about 16 food joints in Kangundo sub-county have been ordered closed for failure to meet public health standards.
And Governor Alfred Mutua has directed all county health officials to be on high alert.
[Report by Kevine Omollo, Josphat Thiong’o and Erustus Mulwa]