About 500 people living along Ewaso Ng’iro River settlements in Isiolo County have been affected by a diarrhoeal disease outbreak in the last two months.
County Public Health officer Guracha Sarite said the outbreak has affected vulnerable children under five years and women in several areas of Merti, Garbatulla and Oldonyiro since September.
Already, 18 samples of human stool and water from 10 sources have been collected and taken to Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) for bacteriological analysis to rule out Cholera.
Records from health facilities in Garbatulla sub-county indicate that November had the highest number of patients with diarrhoea with 186 cases while 41 cases were reported between December 1 and December 3.
A team of public health officers, disease surveillance coordinator and laboratory technicians who visited the affected areas found out that Merti had 300 cases while Garbatulla and Oldonyiro recorded 150 and 50 cases respectively.
Mr Sarite said community water storage tanks have not been cleaned for more than two years in all the centres the team visited leading to water contamination.
Water sources are also suspected to have been contaminated by faecal matter due to flooding in areas where open defecation is practiced by the communities.
Rolling of water jerricans on contaminated surface is also believed to have contributed to the outbreak.
“There is no laboratory diagnosis since none of the facilities has functional laboratory hence suggestive clinical perspective were dysentery, ameobiases and malnutrition especially among children under five years,” said the health officer.
The county government has distributed emergency drugs, 2,000 water jerricans for water storage, 60,000 water purifiers, 100,000 chlorine tabs for treating water and soaps for hand washing.
The team however recommended urgent disinfection or cleaning of community water storage tanks, more supply of water disinfectants to affected households and behavioural change by community.
Affected areas in Merti sub-county include Dadachabasa, Malkagala, Korbesa, Mataabra, Merti town, Awarsitu, Bulesa, Biliqo and Biliqo Marara while in Garba Tulla; Gafarsa, Sericho, Badana, Iresaboru, Kombola and Malkadaka have been hit by the outbreak.