61 cholera cases confirmed following Kiambu wedding, Health Ministry says

Patrick Amoth

Acting Director General for Health Dr. Patrick Amoth.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu |Nation Media Group

Ministry of Health has confirmed 61 cholera cases recorded in six counties around the country following a wedding festival held in Kiambu County where 31 cases were reported.

The other counties are Nairobi (17), Murang'a (1), Kajiado (2), Nakuru (2) and Uasin Gishu (8).

According to the Acting Director-General for Health, Dr Patrick Amoth, of the sixty-one cases confirmed, thirteen are currently hospitalized, eight have been discharged, and forty were treated as outpatients.

“The National Public Health Microbiology Laboratory has isolated Vibrio cholera-01-Ogawa as the responsible serotype,” Dr Amoth said.

All the stakeholders involved have commenced response activities, including field investigations, enhanced surveillance, laboratory testing, case management, risk communication, community engagement, and environmental sanitation to prevent the further spread of the disease and manage the outbreak.

Dr Amoth further mentioned the ongoing drought might have worsened the situation.

“It is therefore the Ministry's decision to put all counties on high alert for possible cholera outbreaks,” he said.

Personnel under the County Directors of Health in the country have been asked to actively search for acute watery diarrhoea in health facilities and communities for missed or unreported cases.

They will also be expected to strengthen surveillance activities up to the village level and ensure 100 percent cases based reporting.

"Ensure that all health workers are conversant with the case definition and sensitized to potential Cholera outbreaks.”

According to Dr Amoth, the counties will step up weekly IDSR reporting to ensure that over 90 percent of facilities are reporting.

"Counties are required to improve laboratory capacity for specimen collection and shipment,” said Dr Amoth.

All counties are also required to develop an appropriate preparedness and response plan for the sub-county to prevent the propagation of any potential outbreak and plan for sustained contact tracing.

He further directed the isolation of cholera cases if they get admitted to the wards.

County Health officials will also be required to sensitize the community on safe water practices, the use of latrines, and prompt treatment of diarrhoea cases.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae strains belonging to two serogroups, O1 and O139.

Serogroup O1, which is responsible for the seventh cholera pandemic, is divided into three serotypes, Inaba, Ogawa and Hikojima (a variant of the Ogawa serotype)

Symptoms in the early stages of infection include profuse watery diarrhoea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity, dry mucous membranes, low blood pressure, thirst, muscle cramps and restlessness or irritability.

The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.

The ministry in May announced an outbreak of cholera in Nairobi’s Kamukunji region.