More than 500 people residing along Ewaso Ng’iro River settlements in Isiolo County have been diagnosed with diarrheal disease epidemic in the past two months.
Guracha Sarite, County Public Health officer said the epidemic has mostly affected vulnerable children under five years and women in numerous regions of Garbatulla, Oldonyiro and Merti since September.
10 water samples and 18 human stool samples have been sent to Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) for bacteriological analysis to rule out Cholera.
According to records in Garbatulla medical facilities, November had the number of patients with diarrhoea with 186 cases.
So far 41 cases have been reported in December
Merti had the highest number of cases at 300 while Garbatulla and Oldonyiro recorded 150 and 50 cases correspondingly.
A team made up of public health officers, disease surveillance coordinator and laboratory technicians visited the affected areas.
Mr Sarite, a member of the team said that most water storage tanks have not been cleaned for more than two years in all the centres the team visited leading to water contamination.
Flooding in the areas has caused water sources to be contaminated by faecal matter since the community practices open defecation.
Rolling of water jerricans on unhygienic surface is also assumed to have added to the epidemic.
“There is no laboratory diagnosis since none of the facilities has efficient laboratory thus suggestive clinical standpoint were dysentery, ameobiases and malnutrition particularly among children less than five years,” said the health officer.
Even though the county government has distributed emergency drugs, 60,000 water purifiers, 100,000 chlorine tabs for treating water , 2000 water jerricans and soap for hand washing ; there is still more to be done.
The team has strongly recommended the critical disinfection or cleaning of community water storage tanks.
It also requested for more water disinfectants to be supplied to the affected homes and hygiene talks to influence behavioral change in the community.