The government has said that a water-contamination crisis at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls’ College in Kakamega County is responsible for causing typhoid fever and amebiasis among its students.
Amebiasis is a disease caused by parasites that have been spreading rapidly in African communities with poor sanitation.
On Monday, the school was closed indefinitely, while Butere Boys Secondary School (BBSS) was shut down later that day after some learners also fell ill.
Two pupils passed away and numerous more were hospitalised as a result of the sickness outbreak at Mukumu Girls.
On Wednesday, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) laboratory in Kisumu reported positive results from samples submitted there for bacterial infections connected to gastroenteritis, according to Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha (a bacterial infection that causes diarrhoea and vomiting).
Some students had amebiasis and Salmonella typhi infections, which are typhoid-causing bacteria (a parasitic infection of the intestines that causes stomach pain and diarrhoea). Numerous students at both schools reported experiencing nausea, vomiting, and fever.
However, a parent whose daughter attends Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls shared the findings of a cholera test that was performed on a stool sample from the girl.
The girl’s condition worsened, according to her parents, and she was eventually admitted to a private hospital. She had been initially admitted to St. Elizabeth Mission Hospital in Mukumu, but on Sunday, she was moved to Kisumu.
Ms. Nakhumicha stated in Kakamegaon on Wednesday, saying, “We had thought that the diseases could be related to cholera or Marburg sickness, but the results from Kemri are negative. She reported that a pupil had been admitted to the intensive care unit at the Kakamega County Medical Hospital but was otherwise stable.
“We have 26 students still admitted to Kakamega County General Hospital and St Elizabeth Mission Hospital Mukumu,” she said. The CS and Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang visited the school yesterday accompanied by other officials from the Ministry of Health. They inspected the kitchen, store for cereals and water storage tanks.
The water, which is pumped to the main storage tank from a stream close to the school, was claimed to be suspected of being contaminated, according to the officials. A team from the Ministry of Water will visit the two schools today, according to the CS, to take water samples and make sure the tanks are cleaned. They will be a part of a multi-agency team that conducts inspections and offers suggestions for enhancing hygiene.
The CS stated that instructions on food management in schools will be released by the Ministry of Health.
If it is determined that the school managers were negligent, Dr. Kipsang stated that action will be taken against them.
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