Press release on the cholera outbreak in the country

The country has been having a Cholera outbreak since early May 2017, with the first two cases were reported in Mathare area, Nairobi. Later, the outbreak was reported in other areas of the country. Cumulatively, a total of 146 cases including 4 deaths (Case Fatality Rate = 3%) have been reported as at 21st May 2017. The cases are distributed as follows: Garissa (88 cases), Nairobi (29 cases with 1 death), Vihiga (15 cases with 2 deaths), Mombasa (2 cases), Murang’a (11 cases with 1 death) and Kiambu (1 case).

Cholera is an infectious disease which presents with sudden onset of watery diarrhea and vomiting associated with ingestion of contaminated water and/or food with cholera germs. Some of the cases reported in Nairobi, Mombasa and Vihiga are associated with a wedding held in Karen, Nairobi over a week ago.

As a response to the outbreak, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with County Governments and various partners have taken the following measures:

  1. Alert send to health workers to notify this outbreak, take note of clinical presentation and to have high index of suspicion to all suspected cases of diarrhea.
  2. Reactivated the Multi-Sectoral Outbreak Management Technical Working Group and Rapid Response Teams both at the National level and in the affected counties.
  3. Advised all the affected counties to follow cholera management guidelines, including setting up of cholera treatment centers.
  4. Heightened surveillance for acute watery diarrhea, by conducting active case search and contact tracing. Also Inspection of public eateries and enforcement of the public law is ongoing.
  5. Community sensitization on prevention and control of cholera such as treating/boiling of water before consumption, use of latrines for safe disposal of fecal matter and early treatment for any signs of diarrhea.
  6. All cases have been managed in different facilities in the affected counties.
  7. All members of the public are urged to take the initiative of taking plenty of water and where possible with oral rehydration salts(ORS) when they experience diarrhea.
  8. Supplies- Provision of  water  treatment  chemicals,  laboratory supplies, Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials.
  9. Social mobilization and health awareness creation in communities is ongoing.
  10. Strength  law  enforcement;  Counties  environmental  health officers to close or issue closure notices to hotels or eating premises that do not meet basic hygiene standards.
  11. Strengthened   diagnostic   capacity   at   national   and   sub national level, including county referral hospitals.

The Ministry of Health wishes to reassure Kenyans that it will continue to monitor and coordinate response with an aim of bringing it to an end as quickly as possible. The public is advised to be on high alert and refer any suspected cases of Cholera or acute watery diarrhea to the nearest health facility for assessment and management. They are further advised to ensure that they only take treated or boiled water. In addition, members of the public should ensure that they observe proper sanitation and maintain high standards of personal hygiene including proper hand washing before eating food and visiting the toilet.

Dr. Kioko Jackson K., OGW