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Schools shut over cholera outbreak

Tuesday March 23 2010

The Government has shut down 16 schools in Msambweni District in Kenya's Coast Province in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly cholera disease.

So far, eight people have died and and left 250 others hospitalised from the outbreak.

The learning institutions will remain closed until the situation normalises, said the district's Medical Officer Dr Kevin Kinyua.

A circular from the Public Health ministry seen by the Nation gives the names of the affected primary schools as Vingujini, Jomo Kenyatta, KAG, Msambweni, Karama Academy, Milalani, Msingi Bora Academy, Kingwede, Ngonja, Wanyawa, Sifu, Mwamtsefu, Bomani and Lungalunga primary schools. The secondary schools are Msambweni and Mwamzadi

According to Dr Kinyua, the number of victims had by Tuesday increased from 220 over the weekend to over 250 with more new cases being recorded every hour.
The patients are being treated at Msambweni District hospital, Vistangalaweni, Mwenza Mwenye, Chiranze, Shimoni dispensaries and Mkwiro health centres.

The move came as the government located the epicentre of the outbreak and the timeline.

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“The disease started on February 29 after a woman from Pemba Island in Tanzania arrived in Mkwiro Island to attend the burial of a relative and later travelled to Shimoni where she succumbed.

“It is from that time we reported the first case which spread very fast as our team was conducting surveillance across the district,” said the Coast Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation, Dr Anisa Abdallah.

The spread could have also been caused by poor health standards, she said, adding: “The latrine coverage here is less than 30 per cent and the only source of water in some villages is a water pan, which is contaminated and can be among the cause of the cholera outbreak.”

She said cross-border campaigns involving Kenya and Tanzanian health workers have been intensified at Lunga Lunga and Shimoni border points where citizens of both nations are being screened of the disease.