Cholera kills 30 in one month

2009-06-16 22:20

Nairobi - A cholera outbreak in north eastern Kenya has killed at least 30 people over the past month, a senior health official said on Tuesday.

Director of Public Health Shahnaaz Shariff said that more than 1 400 cases had been reported over a vast area of the country, mainly due to the lack of clean water.

"Let's be realistic about the situation. With the environmental change, with this prolonged drought, I do not foresee that outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases will subside in this country," Dr Shariff said.

She said the six-month-old outbreak had now claimed 76 lives and added that many had died because of delayed treatment in remote areas.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with a bacterium known as Vibrio Cholerae.

Vulnerable areas known

Action Aid National health Co-ordinator Ruth Laibon said cholera outbreaks in the country were intolerable since vulnerable areas were known.

"For example, after every rainy season it is likely there will be a cholera outbreak. It has more to do with our environmental practices and because we know this, it is high time the ministries of public health and environment come up with a programme that anticipates such situations," she said.

Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo said that officials had been ordered to strictly inspect all eateries and ensure high standards of hygiene in response to the new upsurge in the outbreak.

"Public health officers are under strict instructions not to allow street vendors (to sell food) unless they see that the source of that food is really clean," the minister said.