Anthrax patients discharged from Thika hospital

Tuesday May 16 2017

A couple working in a butchery. Kenyans have been asked to be keen on the meat they buy from butcheries by checking if it has been inspected. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A couple working in a butchery. Kenyans have been asked to be keen on the meat they buy from butcheries by checking if it has been inspected. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MARY WAMBUI
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Seven out of the eight patients who were last week admitted at Thika Level Five hospital bearing symptoms of anthrax have been discharged from the hospital.

Kiambu Director of medical services and Thika Level Five's medical superintendent Dr Jacob Toro confirmed adding that the eighth patient is recovering and in stable condition but being monitored.

"We are cleaning his wounds and monitoring his progress but we can confirm that he is in stable condition. There is no cause for alarm, we have had no further admissions since Wednesday last week," said Dr Toro.

Preliminary investigations have shown that the eight meat transporters had come into contact with a carcass outside Thika town’s public slaughter house.

However, the abattoir was closed on May 10 over fears that the eight may have visited the place and contaminated it.

INVESTIGATIONS

"We closed the slaughter house because the eight are people who regularly transport meat from the slaughter house. Our fears were that they could have visited the slaughter house and contaminated it without our knowledge.

“We are yet to find out where the eight transporters came into contact with the carcass," Kiambu director of veterinary services, livestock and fisheries development Dr Philip Ndarua said during a meeting attended by stakeholders at the closed Makongeni slaughter house.

Police are investigating where the eight allegedly slaughtered the infected animal whose carcass is yet to be found.

He said the abattoir will be opened soon after they are through with vetting all the transporters that carry meat from the factory and disinfecting the entire facility — both inside and outside.

Plans are also in place to have the slaughter house fenced with a perimeter wall and two gates put in place to secure the compound.

INSPECTED MEAT

"We know there are hundreds of people who depend on the slaughter house, even the county government is losing revenue. Our interest is in safeguarding all residents from harm," he said noting that at the moment, there there's no cause for alarm.

He called on Kenyans to be keen on the meat they buy from butcheries by checking if it has been inspected.

"One way of ensuring that is checking if the meat has been stamped, bearing some roller marks and the meat's inspection certificate that should be openly displayed at the butchery," cautioned Dr Tharwa.

Currently, over 300 direct jobs have been halted with the closure of the only slaughter house in Thika constituency. It slaughters an average of 140 cows on weekends and an average of 50 during the week.

Thika sub-county meat transporters chairperson Peter Murimi called on the relevant agencies to speed up investigations into the matter to enable immediate resumption of operations at the slaughter house.

COST OF LIVING

"With the rising cost of living, a day's closure of the slaughter house has a huge effect on families that depend on it for livelihood," said Mr Murimi.

Ramadhan Kamau, a butchery owner at Thika town said they are now sourcing for meat from neighboring slaughter houses in Makutano and Kabati.

"Our businesses have been affected. We closed some of our premises but we are grateful that all these efforts put in place are meant to prevent a spread of the disease," he said.