Lifestyle and Health

This is no time for any disease outbreak

Nearly 50 people have contracted cholera while attending a health conference in Kenya’s capital (BBC). Most of those hit are doctors who were attending a science conference about lung infections in Weston hotel, one of the biggest hotels in the city. Our local news outlets have been hesitant in reporting the occurrence of this particular outbreak apparently because it hasn’t hit the usual places; slums and other informal settlements. This time round, the poor have got a reprieve. The gods must be aware that Kenyan nurses are on strike.

This is no time for a disease outbreak, certainly not a time to be hit by cholera. For starters, our hospitals are semi-locked if not completely locked, thanks to the nurse’s strike now on its fourth week. Our leaders are busy on the streets hurling names on each other in the name of campaigning, so nobody really cares. Cholera, unlike other diseases is very un- forgiving; it is a disease that will not hesitate to get done with you in a matter of hours! So, if you cannot afford Nairobi hospital or THE Karen, you are better off avoiding Weston Hotel for as long as possible!

So what exactly is cholera?

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by vibrio cholera (bacteria) that can kill within hours if left untreated {WHO}. That is right, cholera, unlike most diseases does not delay in killing, its victims.


Cholera is a fecal oral disease spread via ingesting food or water contaminated with infected faeces

Its incubation period varies from between two hours to five days


Symptoms of cholera;

Here are some of the symptoms of cholera;

  1. Profuse diarrhea –the stool is watery with flecks of white.

-it normally looks like water that has been used to rinse rice hence the name, RICE WATER DIARRHEA

  1. vomiting-
  • severe cholera without treatment kills about half of the infected people
  • death results from severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance


Because cholera causes death rapidly, it is always better to prevent it than to treat it;

Here are ways in which to prevent a cholera outbreak

  1. Hand washing- remember to wash your hands with soap and water after visiting the toilet, before handling food, before breastfeeding your child, and before you eat
  2. Water purification-sterilize water used for drinking, or cooking by boiling, or chlorination
  3. Antibacterial treatment of sewage
  4. Proper disposal of fecal waste, material used by a cholera victim e.g. beddings
  5. SURVEILLANCE—Cholera outbreaks/cases should be promptly reported to help prepare to contain infections
  6. Vaccination- there is a cholera vaccination that can be administered during outbreaks or to travelers traveling to cholera endemic areas. The vaccine is effective for about three months after it is administered.


Victims of cholera should be isolated and treated away from other patients.

The aim of treatment is to restore fluid and electrolytes that are lost

This should be done in a hospital setting

  1. fluids – intravenous fluids is the main stay of treatment, oral fluids may also be given
  2. electrolyte replacement
  3. antibiotics- so as to shorten the course of the infection

The antibiotics of choice are doxycycline, septrin, ciprofloxacin, among others

  1. zinc supplementation- this reduces the severity of the diarrhea


Any cases of cholera should be reported, whether they occur in a hotel owned by a vice president or in Kibera slums.

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Doreen Saringi

Hey there, welcome. I am Dr. Oyunge. Books are my second love and writing is my third. Once I take off my white coat, I pick my pen.

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James Njenga

I think when such a poor disease hits the rich, it is then that the rich know that we are all equal. We all have red blood in our veins. And diarrhea is impartial; it can hit everyone.

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