Four die, 67 hospitalised with suspected cholera after eating at Kwanjula

Tuesday August 20 2019

Food served at a party. Four people have died

Food served at a party. Four people have died of food poisoning while 67 others are hospitalised after eating at a dowry ceremony at Ruirii village in Kieni, Nyeri County in Kenya, on August 15, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY  

By IRENE MUGO | NMG

The Health Department at Nyeri County in Kenya has increased surveillance following the death of four people who presented cholera-like symptoms, after eating at a dowry ceremony at Ruirii village in Kieni constituency last Thursday.

The food was outsourced from Kitengela in Kajiado County for the event attended by more than 250 guests from Nyeri and Nairobi counties.

Director of Medical Services Nelson Muriu said residents who attended the ceremony trooped to hospitals exhibiting cholera-like symptoms.

The groom’s mother who had accompanied her son from Nairobi, died in the city. The bridegroom is receiving treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

“The patient at KNH has tested negative for cholera and is being treated for food poisoning,” said Dr Muriu.

Residents started trooping hospitals on Saturday when the symptoms persisted while the deaths were confirmed on Monday.

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He said that they were tracing the source of the food and the caterers.

In Nyeri, one person is receiving treatment at the Othaya Level IV Hospital while 67 others are being treated in different health facilities.

The patients complained of diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pains.

“We have set up a temporary health unit at Kariminu Dispensary to offer medical services as we map out areas that the attendees came from,” he added.

Mr Alfred Kagika said two of his neighbours died. Another victim came from Solio. 

“Everyone who attended the ceremony is sick. In the morning we heard wails from my next door neighbours who lost their parents,” he said.

The victims are said to have died of dehydration.

Dr Muriu said they had conducted rapid diagnostic tests on two patients for cholera which turned out negative.

“We have taken more tests for laboratory investigation to see if the cholera bacteria will develop,” he said.

“We are trying to get more clinical notes on the same but we have contained the situation,” said Dr Muriu.

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