In the past 2 days, Kenyans have been hit with the bad news of the cholera outbreak as reported from Nairobi hospital. Actually, about 23 cases has been reported but the hospital is yet to establish the cause.
In an attempt to control further spread, the Nairobi hospital has closed down its cafeteria and asked its workers to seek treatment from within the hospital. As such, the country is on high alert since the spread of cholerae, bacteria causing cholera spreads very fast.
It is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera (V. cholera).
Despite being easy to treat, cholera is estimated to affect between 3 and 5 million people each year, and it causes over 100,000 deaths worldwide.
The eight employees work in the hospital’s catering department and offer services at the staff canteen.
The male worker died on Tuesday morning after what his colleagues said was “a short illness.”
Sources at the hospital on Tuesday told the YourHealthCare.co.ke that at least 23 cases of the water-borne disease, eight involving staff, had been treated at the facility in April alone.
The hospital’s cafeteria has been closed indefinitely as the management battles to contain the spread of the outbreak.
A source privy to the information and who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to issue press statements said they have been treating cholera cases on daily basis.
“The hospital has been handling cholera cases day in day out but now there is an outbreak and the staff are affected. We are treating it seriously. The investigation is on,” said the source.
He confirmed to the Nation that late last month, teachers from Riara group of schools were admitted to the hospital with symptoms of the disease.
Three children from were also suspected to have cholera.
CONFIRMATION of Other People Affected with Cholera Outbreak in 2019
Nairobi County health officials later directed referral hospitals within the city to reactivate their cholera treatment units following confirmation of the outbreak in the city.
In a letter dated March 21 and addressed to all county medical superintendents, Nairobi County Director of Health Lucina Koyio said that all sub counties in the capital were on a high alert.
“The county is experiencing a wave of cholera outbreak which was confirmed on 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.
“All sub-counties should be on high alert and treat all suspected cases of cholera as cholera cases. Please also reactivate your sub county response teams,” said Dr Koyio.
In 2017, the city county faced a major cholera outbreak prompting the county government to call for closure of roadside food eateries and banning of food hawking.
However, as a health blog, we though it wise to highligh some of the signs and symptoms of cholera so that you can be well informed and seek immediate treatment in case you have similar symptoms.
The cause of cholera is infection by the V. cholera bacteria. These bacteria were discovered in 1883.
The German bacteriologist, Robert Koch (1843-1910), studied the disease during an epidemic in Egypt.
V. cholera bacteria live in shallow, salty water on microscopic crustaceans. They can also exist as colonies of biofilms that coat the surface of the water, plants, stones, shells, and similar items, and they can live among the eggs of midges, which serve as a reservoir for cholera bacteria.
Toxic strains of cholera bacteria produce a poison that triggers violent diarrhea in humans.
Only around 1 in 20 cholera infections are severe, and a high percentage of infected people show no symptoms.
If symptoms appear, they will do so between 12 hours and 5 days after exposure. They range from mild or asymptomatic to severe.
They typically include:
- large volumes of explosive watery diarrhea, sometimes called "rice water stools" because it can look like water that has been used to wash rice
- leg cramps
A person with cholera can quickly lose fluids, up to 20 liters a day, so severe dehydration and shock can occur.
Signs of dehydration include:
- loose skin
- sunken eyes
- dry mouth
- decreased secretion, for example, less sweating
- fast heart beat
- low blood pressure
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- rapid weight loss
Shock can lead to collapse of the circulatory system. It is a life-threatening condition and a medical emergency.