A Nairobi Hospital staff has died and seven others are admitted following a cholera outbreak at the premier health facility in the Kenyan capital.
The eight employees work in the hospital's catering department and offer services at the staff canteen.
The male worker died on Tuesday morning after what his colleagues said was "a short illness."
Sources at the hospital on Tuesday told the Nation that at least 23 cases of the water-borne disease, eight involving staff, had been treated at the facility in April alone.
The hospital’s cafeteria has been closed indefinitely as the management battles to contain the spread of the outbreak.
A source privy to the information and who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to issue press statements said they have been treating cholera cases on a daily basis.
“The hospital has been handling cholera cases day in day out but now there is an outbreak and the staff are affected. We are treating it seriously. The investigation is on,” said the source.
But in a statement, the hospital’s management on Tuesday denied any internal outbreak, meaning the cases could have come for outside.
“There is an upsurge of cholera cases in Nairobi. We have had several cases admitted in our hospital. Unfortunately, we had eight of our staff affected,” said the statement.
It continues: “There is no outbreak of cholera in the hospital. No patient is at risk and we are continuously monitoring.”
However, what is not clear from the statement is why the cafeteria managed by the hospital was closed and how the eight staff got the bacteria.
The statement also does not tell if one of their own died from the disease.
Sources told the Nation that late last month, teachers from Riara group of schools were admitted to the hospital with symptoms of the disease.
Three children from were also suspected to have cholera.
Nairobi County health officials later directed referral hospitals within the city to reactivate their cholera treatment units following confirmation of the outbreak in the city.
In a letter dated March 21 and addressed to all county medical superintendents, Nairobi County Director of Health Lucina Koyio said that all sub counties in the capital were on a high alert.
“The county is experiencing a wave of cholera outbreak which was confirmed on March 20. In this regard, I am requesting all referral hospitals to reactivate their cholera treatment units to prevent the spread of the disease,” said Dr Koyio.
“All sub-counties should be on high alert and treat all suspected cases of cholera as cholera cases. Please also reactivate your sub county response teams,” said Dr Koyio.
Nairobi estates rocked by Cholera outbreak and were on high alert were Donholm, Nyayo Estate, Tassia, Avenue 1-3, Pipeline, South B and the surrounding areas, including Mlolongo (Great Wall) in Machakos County.
Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water.
It is caused by consuming food or water contaminated with a bacteria called Vibrio cholerae.
It causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration.
Left untreated, it can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.
In 2017, the city county faced a major cholera outbreak prompting the county government to call for closure of roadside food eateries and banning of food hawking.