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Food hawking in Nyeri County banned over cholera fears

Tuesday April 23 2019

An open air food kiosk.

An open air food kiosk. The Nyeri County Health department has banned food hawking following cases of cholera outbreaks in several counties in the country. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IRENE MUGO
By IRENE MUGO
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The Nyeri County Health department has banned food hawking following cases of cholera outbreaks in several counties in the country.

Health Executive Racheal Kamau has also ordered the re-inspection of food outlets in the county to ensure conformity with the Public Health Act.

She urged Nyeri residents to be on high alert for a possible cholera outbreak going by the transmission patterns that have been reported in Nairobi, Machakos, Garissa and Kajiado counties.

“Due to the close proximity and the frequent interaction between Nyeri and the affected Nairobi County, there is increased danger of cross-border transmission if necessary precautions are not put in place,” noted Dr Kamau.

AVOID HAWKED FOOD

In addition, she called on residents to avoid consuming hawked cooked food and also desist from buying food from unlicensed outlets. Residents have also been asked to always boil water before drinking.

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Nyeri County has in the recent past seen an increase in food vending on its major streets in the evenings.

A cholera outbreak was reported at The Nairobi Hospital last week leaving one person dead and 22 others suffering from the waterborne disease.

As of Tuesday, Dr Kamau said, 1,350 cases of cholera had been reported nationally with six deaths.

DRINKING WATER

She said communities that lack safe drinking water are at risk of contracting the disease.

The health executive further stated that food prepared and sold under unhygienic conditions could be contaminated with faecal matter, either through flies or dirty fingers and could be a source of cholera.

“All the households with no access to treated or piped water are to be supplied with chlorine tablets free of charge,” she noted.

Tens of households in all the eight sub-counties of Nyeri are not connected to piped water, putting them at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

Dr Kamau stated that health personnel in all hospitals should be on high alert, adding that public health surveillance will be heightened.

She also said that any suspected cases of cholera should be reported to the county director of Health for further investigation and immediate response.