21 July 2017

Kenya: Upscale Kenya Hotels Linked to Cholera Outbreak

Photo: Liz Muthoni/Daily Nation
A waitress at the San Valencia Gardens restaurant in Lavington, Nairobi.

Kenya's minister of health has ordered two top hotels in Nairobi to shut down after they were linked to a cholera outbreak. The minister, Cleopa Mailu, said the hotels had supplied food to an event where cholera was reported.

The order for Nairobi's San Valencia and Jacaranda Hotels to shut down follows allegations cholera may have been transmitted through the hotels' catering services.

This is after several delegates attending a trade expo catered by the hotels this week were hospitalized with symptoms of the waterborne disease. Two Cabinet ministers attending the expo were also affected.

The Ministry of Health said this week that 336 possible cases of cholera have been reported in Nairobi County since May, and that three people have died.

Nairobi's governor, Evans Kidero, told journalists that this outbreak, unlike previous ones, has spread beyond poor areas.

"It has not just been people who are in the informal settlements like Mathare, like Kibera, like Mukuru. We have noticed also that people from higher income areas have also fallen," Kidero said.

Last month, around 50 visitors to an international medical conference held at Nairobi's lavish Weston Hotel were reported to have fallen ill with symptoms associated with cholera.

The Ministry of Health says the latest incident at the trade expo is being investigated and that samples of food, water and sewage are being tested. It said results from the tests are expected within a week.

Meanwhile, Nairobi County health executive Dr. Bernard Muia said all restaurants in the area are being inspected.

"We are mapping out any eatery, and when I talk about eatery here, I am even talking about any hotel, regardless of the category and also validating the food handlers," Muia said.

Minister of Health Mailu said Nairobi's water services will also be thoroughly inspected.

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