The government has connected the recent outbreak of illness at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls in Kakamega County to water contamination at the school, resulting in cases of typhoid fever and amebiasis. Amebiasis, a parasitic illness, is prevalent in tropical regions with inadequate sanitation.
Mukumu Girls School shut down indefinitely on Monday, with Butere Boys Secondary School following suit the next day after several students fell ill. Two students lost their lives due to the outbreak at Mukumu Girls, while numerous others required hospitalization.
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha announced that samples tested by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) laboratory in Kisumu confirmed bacterial infections associated with gastroenteritis, which causes diarrhea and vomiting.
Students were found to be infected with salmonella typhii (a bacterium responsible for typhoid) and amebiasis (a parasitic intestinal infection causing abdominal pain and diarrhea). Pupils from both schools reported symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Primary water reservoir Officials suspect the water, pumped from a nearby stream to the school’s main storage tank, to be the contamination source. The Cabinet Secretary mentioned that a team from the Ministry of Water would visit the two schools today to gather water samples and ensure the tanks’ cleanliness. This team will be part of a multi-agency group responsible for conducting inspections and providing recommendations for hygiene improvement.
The Ministry of Health will provide guidelines for food handling in schools.
Dr. Kipsang warned that school administrators might face the consequences if found negligent.
Previously, the Cabinet Secretary visited Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls students admitted to the County General Hospital. Dr. Barbra Murila, the doctor in charge, informed her that the students were suffering from an infection that impacted their kidneys and liver.
Dr. Murila reported that the patients had shown some progress but continued to experience fever and liver and kidney damage, possibly due to toxins.