Rotavirus claims lives of 14 children in two weeks in Mombasa

Rotavirus vaccine

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir during the launch of vaccination against Rotavirus at Junda Dispensary in Mombasa County in this photo taken on April 12, 2023.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

Fourteen people have succumbed to rotavirus since the outbreak on April 11, the Mombasa County government has announced.

This comes as the county government also warns residents of a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases due to flooding following heavy rains on Friday.
Governor Abdulswamad Nassir's advisor, Mahmood Noor, confirmed the deaths  due to rotavirus.
" The deaths related to rotavirus are from Kisauni, Nyali and  Likoni sub-counties. However, four deaths cannot be accounted due to incomplete data," said Mr Noor.
Also read: How acute shortage of key vaccine led to rotavirus outbreak

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir said the disease was suspected to have originated from a nursery school in Kisauni. He said the county government is working with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) to contain the outbreak.
About 9,000 doses of rotavirus vaccine were sent to the county government three weeks ago. However, most children born late last year did not receive the rotavirus vaccine, which is normally administered at six weeks of age, due to an acute shortage of the drug in the region.
The vaccine is given to children under five to prevent severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. But the vaccine has not been available in hospitals, putting children at risk of contracting the virus.
Doctors have blamed the current outbreak on unvaccinated children.
Dr Hemed Twahir, a paediatrician at Aga Khan Hospital Mombasa, warned that the virus was spreading rapidly.
"It spreads easily in nurseries because they share sanitation facilities and it's all about hand hygiene," he said, advising that children should always wash their hands with water and soap to avoid infection.
Dr Twahir said the disease can be fatal, especially for babies who have not been vaccinated and if not treated in time. He noted that there are no specific drugs to treat rotavirus infection, but doctors can recommend drugs to treat the symptoms.
Last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumincha assured Mombasa residents that the national government had sent technical assistance to help the county deal with the outbreak.
"The Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth is here, they have already provided the technical support and they should be able to provide the commodity support in terms of rotavirus vaccine," the CS said.
The CS said there has been a spike in diarrhoeal cases across the country and urged schools to ensure proper sanitation, hygiene and food handling and storage to deal with the disease. 
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