NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
At least four people have died, over 300 admitted
to hospital and two major hotels are closed indefinitely in the
capital Nairobi as Kenya fights against a cholera epidemic.
A crackdown on
illegal food vendors has also been launched and all food
handlers are ordered to undergo medical tests as authorities
battle the disease associated with poor hygiene and sanitation.
On Wednesday, Health
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu while giving an update on the
disease announced in Nairobi that 67 people are currently
admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital, the largest referral
hospital, and 12 other health institutions across the city.
“We have so far
recorded four cholera-related deaths in the city and several
admissions to hospital,” he said.
He added that the
two hotels, Jacaranda and San Valencia, had been shut down
indefinitely to help contain the spread of the disease.
Nairobi-based hotels are reported to have offered catering
services at separate events where participants, including two
Cabinet Secretaries, were later hospitalized after contracting
Mailu said the
government will also inspect all water bowsers and water sources
and food vendors to prevent the spread of the disease.
However, not only
Nairobi County has been affected, according to the health
ministry, up to 12 counties have been hit by the cholera
outbreak with the capital and Garissa being the most affected.
Cholera is a severe
diarrhoeal disease that if unchecked can kill victims in hours.
Health experts note that it takes between 12 hours and five days
for someone to show symptoms after coming into contact with
contaminated food or water.
every year some 1.3 million to 4 million cholera cases are
reported across the world, resulting in 140,000 deaths.
outbreak, which started in May, is however unique as the
disease, which has for many years affected people in informal
settlements due to poor sanitation and hygiene has invaded big
Director of Medical
Services Jackson Kioko on Monday directed the county governments
to ban food hawking and inspect all hotels in 21 days as the
ministry appointed a taskforce to battle the disease.
Campaigns have also
been launched to sensitize people on how to curb the disease
through proper hygiene and sanitation.
City residents and
others across the country have been asked to boil drinking
water, wash their hands after going to the toilet and before
they eat and ensure the environments they live in are clean.
The Nairobi cholera
epidemic has become a hot campaign issue ahead of the August 8
polls that candidates running for the governor post are blaming
the incumbent for the crisis.
“Dr Evans Kidero has
no business seeking for re-election because he has completely
neglected garbage collection and sanitation that we now have a
cholera outbreak. The county has completely failed to invest in
water management systems making people consume untreated water,”
Peter Kenneth, one of the aspirants, said Tuesday.
governor, however, has fought back noting the mounds of garbage
and poor sanitation are not to blame for the epidemic. Kidero
directed the blame on upcountry travellers entering Nairobi as
the first case of the disease was reported at a wedding attended
by visitors from western Kenya in May.
A month-long nurses’
strike in the East African nation has hampered response to the
outbreak, with people suffering from the disease failing to get
The nurses went on
strike late June calling for the implementation of a collective
bargaining agreement they signed with the government.
Attempts to end the
stalemate have failed, with the nurses vowing to keep off work
until their demands are met.