The Ministry of Health on Wednesday confirmed a Cholera outbreak in Six Counties.
In a letter to the Public, Director General for Health Patrick Amoth said confirmed that 61 people had been infected in the counties of Kiambu with 31 patients, Nairobi (17) and Murang’a one patient.
Kajiado and Nakuru counties confirmed two patients each, while Uasin Gishu has eight cases.
“The Ministry has confirmed a cholera outbreak in six counties following a wedding festival held in Kiambu county,” Amoth said.
He said of the 61 cases, 13 were hospitalized, eight were discharged, and 40 were treated as outpatients.
“The National Public Health Microbiology Laboratory has isolated Vibrio cholera-01-Ogawa as the responsible serotype,” he added.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoea infect ingesting ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bactcholera brio cholerae.
It takes between 12 hours and five days for a person to show symptoms after ingesting contaminated food or water.
The disease affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if left untreated.
The Ministry has since deployed response activities including field investigations, enhanced surveillance, lab testing, case management, risk communication, and community engagement and environment and sanitation to help manage the outbreak.
Amoth said the Ministry was also putting all counties on high alert, pointing out that the ongoing drought may worsen the outbreak.
MoH has advised all health management officers to notify their workers to watch out for any patients presenting diarrhoea of acute onset and conduct searches for any missed or unreported cases.
They are also required to strengthen surveillance activities up to the village level and ensure 100 per cent case-based reporting and improve laboratory capacity for specimen collection and shipment.
This comes as The World Health Organization and its partners recommend that countries temporarily switch to using a single dose of the cholera vaccine instead of two due to a supply shortage as outbreaks of the water-borne disease surge globally.
In a statement on Wednesday, the UN agency and partners that include UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said one dose of vaccine has proven effective in stopping outbreaks “even though evidence on the exact duration of protection is limited” and appears to be lower in children.
WHO and partner agencies manage a stockpile of cholera vaccines that are dispensed free to countries that need them.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said cholera can sometimes kill within a day and warned that outbreaks in 29 countries this year were putting “unprecedented pressure” on the world’s limited vaccine supply. He said authorities should aim to scale up vaccine production and that “rationing must only be a temporary solution.”
WHO said countries such as Haiti, Malawi and Syria were struggling to stop large outbreaks of the disease and that climate change could make epidemics more common, as the bacteria that causes the disease can reproduce more quickly in warmer water.
In 2010, cholera killed nearly 10,000 people in Haiti after the disease was imported there by U.N. peacekeepers.