Nairobi County has increased surveillance for cholera after two patients tested positive for the disease.
The two are said to have been "imported cases", as they had travelled from Baringo, where there is an outbreak of the infectious disease due to lack of water caused by drought.
About 18 other people are suspected to have the disease after going to hospital complaining of stomach problems and diarrhoea.
Some of the areas on high alert are Donholm, Nyayo Estate, Tassia, Avenue 1-3, Pipeline, South B and the surrounding areas, including Mlolongo (Great Wall) in Machakos County.
REACTIVATE TREATMENT UNITS
As a result, county health officials have requested referral hospitals in the city to reactivate their cholera treatment units following confirmation of a cholera outbreak.
In a letter dated March 21, and addressed to all county medical superintendents, county Director of Health Lucina Koyio said that all sub-counties in Nairobi are on high alert.
"The county is experiencing a ... cholera outbreak, which was confirmed yesterday March 20. In this regard, I am requesting all referral hospitals to reactivate their cholera treatment units to prevent the spread of the disease," said Dr Koyio.
She further advised the medical superintendents to "treat all suspected cases of cholera as cholera cases."
Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration. Left untreated, it can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.
It is caused by consuming food or water contaminated with a bacteria called Vibrio cholerae.
In the current situation, two private city schools early this week wrote to parents advising them to monitor what their children eat after three pupils from one of the schools were suspected to have cholera.
"As a precautionary measure, any child with stomach complaints should be tested for cholera among other tests," the letters said.
Parents with children in Riara and Makini received "public health alert" letters from the schools notifying them of the outbreak.
In a letter seen by the Saturday Nation, Riara said that the county director of public health confirmed that they issued an alert for a suspected outbreak of cholera in parts of Embakasi.