One dead, 29 hospitalised after amoebiasis outbreak in Tigania West

Lairang'i sub-location manager Norman Mwiti shows journalists Mburanaro river following suspected cases of cholera in Tigania West, December 27, 2017. /GERALD MUTETHIA
Lairang'i sub-location manager Norman Mwiti shows journalists Mburanaro river following suspected cases of cholera in Tigania West, December 27, 2017. /GERALD MUTETHIA

One person died while 29 were admitted after a disease outbreak in Tigania West, Meru county.

Cases were reported on Tuesday afternoon in

Kianjai and Mbeu wards, where residents feared a cholera outbreak but the county health officer reported a case of

amoebiasis.

In a visit on Wednesday, villagers told The Star they were fearful.

Mainda Mathina, 95, from Lairang'i died yesterday afternoon while his wife and son were admitted at Isiolo hospital with vomiting, abdominal pains and diarrhea.

Residents cited lack of clean water and asked county and national government health officers to speedily administer door to door vaccines and supply medicine.

Mainda Mathina's grandson Karithi John speaks to journalists at their home in Lairang'i, Tigania West, December 27, 2017. /GERALD MUTETHIA

Lairang'i sub-location manager Norman Mwiti said most families do not have access to water and that

Mburanaro stream and a borehole in Buuri constituency were "very contaminated'.

Mwiti, sub-county health officials and area sub-chief Kawira Mwenda visited affected families and found both adults and children were sick.

Administrators warned locals

against visiting their friends and relatives and sharing food and water at public gatherings.

County public health director Ephantus Kariuki ruled out cholera and said a laboratory report showed most residents were suffering from

amoebiasis,

a bacterial infection that also results form the contamination of food and water.

The officer said they visited several parts and believed the outbreak was worsened by festivities.

"This resulted from contamination of food during the festive season. I have been to Ruiri where some of affected people are drunkards," he said.

"Most cases were reported on Friday when the holiday began. The lab analysis shows this is amoebiasis."

Kariuki said Mathina may have died from dehydration

after refusing to drink water or eat.

"He refused to eat and drink and due to vomiting and diarrhea, I suspect the mzee died from dehydration. His age is also a factor to consider."

Tigania West sub-county health officer John Kaberenge speaks to journalists outside the home of 95-year-old Mainda Mathina who died of a suspected case of cholera, December 27, 2017. /GERALD MUTETHIA

The official reported that 21 cases of the disease

had been reported at Ruiri Mission Health Centre and that most of the victims were aged 30 to 70.

Five similar cases were reported at Chaaria hospital and two at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Kariuki advised locals to boil drinking water and noted Karuna stream and rivers may be contaminated.

The officer said no new cases had been reported in Mukindu.