Turkana on alert after cholera outbreak in camp

Saturday May 27 2017

There has been a cholera outbreak in Turkana County.

A medical officer at Mogotio Health Centre, at the border of Baringo and Nakuru counties, posts information on cholera prevention on October 13, 2015. There has been a cholera outbreak in Turkana County. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAMMY LUTTA
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Refugees in Kakuma camp have been treated for cholera following an outbreak.

Turkana County health and sanitation executive Jane Ajele said the 25 inhabitants were treated at Kakuma Mission Hospital.

Among the patients was a child who had experienced bouts of diarrhoea.

"We received around 25 suspected patients and when samples were sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention they turned out to be cholera positive. But no death has been recorded," she said.

RISK FACTORS

Ms Ajele said some of the hospitalised patients were isolated to prevent further spread of the disease.

Following the outbreak, some of the measures the Joseph Nanok-governed county has taken to stanch further infections include shutting down 20 restaurants in Kakuma town because they did not meet the required health standards.

The Health executive added that overcrowding and poor sanitation are to blame for the outbreak within the camp.

"Our surveillance team is on high alert and we have even dispatched a team to Nadapal on the border of Kenya and South Sudan to screen all new arrivals from South Sudan.

"A member of the host community admitted at Kakuma Mission Hospital for diarrhoea tested negative [for cholera]," she added.

SCREENING

The disease situation is not limited to Turkana only, on May 18 in Nairobi's Karen suburb three people tested positive for the disease.

They had attended a wedding; and the county's health executive Bernard Muia said they might have contracted the infection from western Kenya.

Dr Muia added that more cases were reported in Murang'a and Garissa counties.

Treatment centres are now on high alert and locals have been advised to visit health facilities when they show symptoms such as diarrhoea.

TRANSMISSION

According to the World Health Organization, cholera is "an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio cholerae present in faecally contaminated water or food".

It is transmitted through contaminated water or food.