At least 10 admitted for cholera-like symptoms in Lamu as drought persists

A cows carcass in Pangani village in Lamu. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: At least 10 people among them children from Pandanguo village have been admitted at the Witu hospital in Lamu County after they exhibited cholera-like symptoms.

Those admitted are said to have been exhibiting the symptoms which were mainly vomiting and diarrhea.
Others have also been admitted at the Pandanguo dispensary after complaining of stomach pains.

Lamu county health director Mohamed Kombo said he suspected the individuals had acquired stomach infections after consuming highly concentrated water due to the ongoing drought.

Kombo said following the drought which has affected many parts of Lamu County,all the remaining water sources had turned saline and highly concentrated which was being consumed by both humans,livestock and wildlife.

He said they had already taken blood and stool samples from the infected people and sent them to the government chemist in Mombasa in order to establish the real cause of the symptoms exhibited and have the situation promptly addressed.

“We are yet to confirm whether the symptoms are of cholera or something else but I suspect an abdominal infection caused by people consuming highly concentrated water due to the ravaging drought,” said Kombo.

The health executive said a team from the county health department had already been dispatched to contain the situation.

The drought situation has resulted in scarce water sources forcing humans to share the available ones with livestock and wildlife,a situation that has led to high contamination rates due to increased urine and fecal deposits.

He said health officers were working hard to contain the spread of the illness which remains unknown at the moment.

“We are worried the situation might spread to villages affected by drought. There is water shortage and people are forced to share water with animals. We believe the sharing has led to contamination of water but we are working hard to ensure the outbreak doesn’t spread,” said Kombo.

Pandanguo village which is home to the Boni minority community is among the villages hardest hit by the ongoing drought in the region.

On December 15, 2016, two people among them a five-year old child and an adult from Kipini border of Lamu and Tana River Counties died from a cholera outbreak.