Two prisoners died of Cholera at the Shimo La Tewa maximum security prison in Mombasa on Wednesday, prison officials confirmed, sparking fear of an outbreak at the facility that has been cited for congestion and poor sanitation.
At least 30 other remandees, suspected to have contracted the disease, were quarantined and are undergoing medical examination at a separate wing within the prison, James Kodieny, Coast region’s prison commander, told Baraka FM.
Kodieny said health officers from the Mombasa county government were helping prison officials to administer drugs to inmates confirmed or suspected to have contracted the infection.
“This problem started on Monday and we communicated with the county government which sent health officials to administer treatment, but because it was very abrupt, we have lost two inmates,” Kodieny told Baraka FM.
He said although the situation had been contained, they had instigated strict hygienic measures involving inmates, prison warders and visitors to the prison.
“All visitors will be examined and made to wash thoroughly before they are allowed to interact with inmates,” he said.
Officials at the Coast general hospital said they had received one inmate from the prison who they treated and discharged.
They said seven other patients, who are local residents, had their samples taken for testing.
“We are still waiting for swabs from the tests done on the rest of the patients as we work on stabilizing them,” Dr. Mary Achola, deputy chief administrator at the Coast General Hospital, said.
Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial disease associated with consuming contaminated water and food, and a general lack of hygiene, and is manifested through severe diarrhea which results in dehydration and death.
The disease spreads quickly and can be disastrous in areas with human congestion and poor hygiene like prisons.
Additional reporting by Oscar Nyoha and Cynthia Adeny.