Nairobi — Health officials in Garissa and the neighbouring Madogo Division of Tana River County have stepped up their campaigns to stop the spread of a cholera outbreak that has claimed eight lives so far.
Garissa Health Chief Officer Mohamed Farah says over 129 people have been diagnosed and treated for cholera at an isolation unit at the Garissa County Referral Hospital after the highly contagious disease was detected two weeks ago.
Farah says the department is working closely with health officials from neighbouring Tana River County where the disease was initially reported.
"Over 90 per cent of all the cases that we have received far at the Garissa County Referral Hospital isolation unit is from the neighbouring Tana River. We suspect some of these residents are using contaminated water," he said on Wednesday.
Among the measures the department has undertaken include treatment of water sources used by the residents in the affected areas.
Data compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that Kenya has experienced an upsurge of cholera cases since the beginning of 2017.
The first cholera outbreak reported in 2017 was in Tana River County. The outbreak started on October 10, 2016 and was controlled by April 2017.
The second wave of cholera outbreaks started in Garissa County on April 2, 2017 and was reported later in nine other counties including Nairobi, Murang'a Vihiga, Mombasa, Turkana, Kericho, Nakuru, Kiambu, and Narok.
"The outbreak is being reported in the general population and in refugee camps," a WHO report states.
In Garissa County, the report shows, the outbreak is affecting mainly Dadaab refugee camp and cases and deaths are being reported from Hagadera, Dagahaleh, and IFO2 camps. In Turkana County, the disease is also affecting Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps.
Currently, the outbreak is active in two counties, namely Garissa and Nairobi. As of 17 July 2017, a total of 1216 suspected cases including 14 deaths (case fatality rate: 1.2pc) have been reported since 1 January 2017. In the week ending 16 July 2017, a total of 38 cases with no deaths were reported.
WHO lists cholera as a global burden, particularly in developing countries, with an estimated 2.8 million cases annually.