Kenya: Cholera death toll rises to 65

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(Xinhua) – The death toll from cholera outbreak in Kenya has risen to 65, with at least 3,234 cases reported across the country, authorities said Tuesday.

“Cumulatively 326 new cases were reported in the last one week. This is an increase from the previous week where 226 new cases were reported,” Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia said in a statement released in Nairobi.

He said six new deaths were reported in the last one week and pledged that the government will intensify surveillance, public awareness and provision of water treatment chemicals to halt cholera infections.

Macharia said the outbreak, which started in Nairobi on December 26, 2014 has since spread to 11 out of 47 counties in Kenya, adding that a prolonged dry spell, poor hygienic practices and inadequate health facilities worsened the spread of cholera.

The cholera outbreak was initially reported in western Kenya but later spread to Nairobi, central and the coastal regions.

Macharia said a spike in cholera infections and deaths was recorded in the month of April following heavy downpour and flooding. Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.

“Heavy flooding experienced in the last one month resulted to contamination of the environment. Poor hygienic practices like open defecation and hawking of food worsened the outbreak,” he said.

The health ministry in February announced a raft of measures to contain a cholera outbreak that had then claimed eight lives in three counties in Western Kenya.

Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health Nicholas Muraguri deployed technical personnel, medicine and water treatment chemicals to Migori, Homa Bay and Nairobi counties affected by cholera.

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