KENYA: Cholera outbreak in Mandera

Friday, March 7, 2008

An outbreak of cholera in Kenya's northeastern district of Mandera has claimed the lives of six people, with the local hospital reporting that about 130 people had sought treatment at the facility during the past week.

About 60 patients have been admitted to the hospital, a medical officer from the Mandera District Hospital, who asked not to be named, said, adding that the hospital had asked for more cholera treatment drugs from Garissa, the provincial capital of the Northeastern Province where Mandera is situated.

Abukar Abdi, public health officer for Mandera, said the outbreak could be the result of general poor hygiene in Mandera town or the use of contaminated water from the nearby Dawa River, which forms part of the border between Kenya and Ethiopia.

He said his office had ordered 25 food kiosks in Mandera town to close down due to poor hygiene.

Cholera is a diarrhoeal illness caused by Vibrio cholerae. Between 10 and 20 percent of patients develop severe watery diarrhoea with vomiting. Treatment is mainly by rehydration and up to 80 percent of cholera cases can be treated successfully using only oral rehydration salts.

Source: IRIN