Pupil dies, 19 in hospital over strange illness in Kinangop

19 pupils from the school are hospitalised at the Engineer Nyayo Hospital in Kinangop. 

Photo credit: Courtesy

Public health officials in Kinangop, Nyandarua County are investigating an outbreak of unidentified illiness at a local primary school that has killed one pupil.

The pupil at St Mary's Primary School in Magumu died on Monday evening, while receiving treatment at the Engineer Nyayo Ward Hospital in Kinangop. 

At least 19 others are hospitalised at the same facility.

Caused panic

The incident has caused panic among parents and learners at the school.

The first case was reported on Wednesday last week, but the number increased to 19 on Monday evening.

County Director of Health Martha Mwathi who confirmed the death said, the pupils exhibit similar symptoms, complaining of severe headaches and chest pain,while a few of them also complained of stomachache.

Ms Mwathi revealed that the laboratory tests have ruled out cholera and that more tests will be conducted starting Tuesday morning to establish the cause of the illness.

“We are not sure of what the problem is but our staff are working on it and more laboratory tests will be done on Tuesday morning. We visited the school and the situation is calm,we will get to know what happened,” said Dr Mwathi.

She added that the medics are also investigating if the dead pupil died of a similar problem or a different ailment.

The health department officials have reached out to the parents to establish if the boy had underlying health conditions.

“The first case involving two pupils was reported on Wednesday last week and the two were sent home for treatment. The cases increased to seven on Thursday and by Friday, the number had increased to 15 and later 19 by Monday evening. All the affected are class eight candidates,” said a parent Ms Rachael Wamumu.

The incident comes weeks after three students and a teacher at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls School in Kakamega County died following a strange illness linked to contamination of water and food.

The school was closed  down on April 3,but was later reopened early this month on May 8.

Form Fours students were the first to report , accompanied by parents.