Fear has gripped a village in Bomet County after 18 villagers were rushed to hospital after suspected anthrax outbreak.
Four of the victims from Kapkures village in Emitiot Sub-Location, Sotik Sub-County, were on Sunday morning rushed to Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital in the neighbouring Kericho County where they were treated.
“The villagers were brought to the hospital in the morning and are currently undergoing treatment and observation,” said a doctor at the Kapkatet hospital.
Eleven others were taken to Longisa County Referral Hospital for treatment with fear of the numbers rising as a result of unreported cases.
At least three others are said to have sought treatment at private hospitals.
“The victims who slaughtered the carcass and buried it, have developed blisters on various parts of their bodies as a result. So far, there is no report of anyone having feasted on the carcass,” said Mr Stanley Mutai, a county disaster management officer.
Dr Wilson Serem, the director of veterinary at the Bomet County government, said samples of the carcass had been extracted and taken for laboratory tests.
“The specimen has been taken to Regional Veterinary Investigations Laboratory in Kericho County and the results are expected within the next 24 hours. It will confirm whether the suspected case is that of anthrax or not,” said Dr Serem.
Dr Serem said the public should be cautious as there were reported cases of dogs having feasted on the carcass, warning this has the potential of spreading the disease.
“Vaccination of animals in the area will be carried out as a precautionary measure as the said cases of infection had not been reported to the veterinary department when the animals died,” said Dr Serem.
Four animals have so far died in the village with the first case reported four days ago. Residents slaughtered and buried the animals, unaware that they could have died of anthrax.
One of the animals which had not been buried by Sunday morning is said to have died on Saturday night.
Officers from the public health and veterinary departments in Bomet County together with local administrators on Sunday morning mobilised the victims in the area to seek treatment in nearby hospitals.