Six more people have died after consuming contaminated alcohol in Eldoret Town.
The deaths of a polytechnic tutor, a secondary school teacher and four other people brought to 27 the number of the victims of poison alcohol in the North Rift.
The six died on Sunday night at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH).
The first deaths blamed on bad alcohol were reported in Nandi County, where seven people perished on Wednesday. They had consumed four alcohol brands.
Two others died the following morning.
Seven others, among them university and secondary school students, died in similar circumstances on Saturday in Uasin Gishu County. The county has so far lost 13 lives to bad alcohol.
Among the victims on Sunday were a physics teacher at Wareng High School and a tutor at Eldoret Polytechnic.
Postmortem examinations of the bodies began on Monday.
A man said to have drunk contaminated alcohol at Kapsowar in Elgeyo Marakwet County was admitted to the MTRH on Monday morning.
The hospital has urged neighbouring counties to watch out for possible alcohol-related deaths.
Dr Wilson Aruasa, the deputy director of clinical services at the hospital, said most of the victims died at the emergency section during admission.
“These cases have assumed epidemic proportions and we are requesting the neighbouring counties to be on high alert.”
The medic said most of the patients were treated and discharged.
Out of 64 admissions, 13 have since died while 25 have been discharged. Five women are still in the hospital but were in stable condition.
Dr Aruasa said many of those who died in the hospital arrived in poor condition. The hospital has ran out of good alcohol that is administered to the patients. “We have only three pints of good alcohol that can be administered through the veins, which we have reserved for the most extreme cases,” Dr Aruasa said.
“Otherwise, we are administering treatment orally to the patients.”
The doctor said 21 people arrested in drinking dens at the weekend and brought to the referral hospital had been treated and released except five. The victims were aged between 16 and 36.
Police and county health officials have banned the sale of suspect wines and spirits in Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties. “We are leaving nothing to chance because we realise there’s continuous supply, sale and drinking of these killer brands,” said Eldoret West OCPD Smollest Munyianzi.
“It is the reason we are conducting raids in bars and other drinking spots.”
Some revellers in Eldoret want those who collect empty bottles to be arrested to curb the sale of poison drinks. They claimed that the collectors, usually street children, were hired by traders running “illegal bottling firms”. One such bottler is in Langas, they said.
They said good alcohol was expensive and that many people would continue taking cheap drinks.
Two brands of spirit distilled by a Ugandan firm are among the drinks blamed for the recent deaths.
Reports by Copperfield Lagat, Arthur Situma and Everlyne Simiyu