Revealed: Cause of Gastroenteritis Outbreak at Mukumu Girls and Butere Boys
The Ministry of Health has linked the outbreaks in Mukumu Girls and Butere Boys High Schools to a suspected gastroenteritis outbreak.
The outbreak in Mukumu girls has left two students dead.
Gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, is a very common condition that causes diarrhoea and vomiting and is usually caused by consuming contaminated food or water.
According to the ministry, field investigations at Mukumu Girls point to possible water contamination at the water reservoir.
It is an intestinal infection that includes signs and symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever.
Wafula said water and food samples have been collected from Mukumu Girls for further testing at the government chemist and National Public Health Laboratories.
She said a total of 108 cases of gastroenteritis have so far been reported at Mukumu Girls with two deaths reported.
Sixty-eight were managed as outpatients with only 40 students being admitted; 26 of whom are still admitted. Nine of them are at the Kakamega County Referral Hospital and 17 at Mukumu Mission Hospital.
“One student who was in a critical state has markedly improved and has been moved from the Intensive Care Unit through the High Dependency Unit to the general ward,” the CS said in a statement.
“It is noteworthy to state that patient samples tested negative for Vibrio cholerae and Marburg virus,” she added.
In Butere Boys High School, on the other hand, 97 students reported having diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting following breakfast.
The CS noted that 87 of them were managed as outpatients at Butere Level 4 Hospital, with 10 admitted at St James Hospital and all have recovered and discharged.
All patient samples collected tested negative for cholera.
“In the meantime, outbreak investigations are ongoing with environmental and food samples collected for further testing at the Government Chemist and National Public Health Laboratories,” she said.
The CS on Wednesday toured the school accompanied by the Education PS Belio Kipsang, Kakamega County Governor Fernandes Barasa and Regional Commissioner Samson Irungu Macharia to assess the situation.
Health experts warn that the most common way to develop gastroenteritis is through contact with an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or water.
Healthy people who get infected are likely to recover without complications but it can be deadly among infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems.
Kipsang reiterated that the Ministry of Education will work closely with the Ministry of Health and the two schools to ensure they are offered the necessary help they need.