At least three patients suspected to have contracted cholera are being treated at the Marsabit County referral hospital after they developed symptoms akin to the deadly disease.
Consequently, residents of Marsabit town and its environs have been advised to observe high standards of hygiene as six persons are booked for legal action after they were found operating eateries that have not been approved by the public health department.
The trio, all women, are admitted in a secluded temporary ward that the public health department has established at the hospital as a precaution against the spread of the disease.
Marsabit County Public Health officer Rob Golicha said the three cases did not originate from Marsabit but from Isiolo County where the three are said to have travelled to attend a funeral early in the week.
Golicha told KNA in his office that Nyayo road, Ola village and Township areas produced a case each adding that initial investigations showed that the victims fell ill and suffered acute dysentery upon return from Isiolo town where they had stayed for three days.
The officer added that preliminary tests carried at the hospital pointed at cholera but that samples have been sent to the government chemist in Nairobi for proper analysis to ascertain the nature of the illness.
He said that public health personnel and community health workers have been mobilized to conduct an intense awareness campaign on both personal and environmental hygiene among residents of Marsabit town.
Golicha disclosed that contact tracing carried out between Friday and Saturday found 64 cases who have been screened and given preventive treatment.
“We have found all persons who interacted with the victims upon return from Isiolo who include 29 children, 24 male and 11 female contacts,” said Golicha adding that the contacts showed no signs of infection upon examination.
The government has also embarked on an inspection exercise on eateries and public social joints in the town to ensure that operators comply with public health requirements.
The department has closed three eateries out of 20 that were inspected today and arrested six people for operating and working at the food kiosks illegally.
Golicha, called on residents to drink clean water, thoroughly wash grocery products and to cook their food properly, adding, the crackdown would continue to ensure that all public eateries operated under the set standards.
He warned of dire consequences to anybody found operating or working in a public eatery without following the laid down procedures and contravening the public health act.
“The six were found running eateries in unhygienic conditions and also had not undergone medical examination as required by law, which is unacceptable,” said Golicha and asked residents to embrace hand washing.
The government, he said, was emphasizing on high standards of hygiene in the entire county because of the prevailing drought which has created water scarcity, a condition if not well handled, could trigger outbreak of diseases.
By Sebastian Miriti