At least nine dead after cholera outbreak in Kenyan slum

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Health officials have said that at least nine people were killed and over sixty remain in critical condition on Saturday after an outbreak of cholera in a slum in Kenya's capital Nairobi.

cholera bacteria
Image: Ronald Taylor, Tom Kirn, Louisa Howard.

A mission hospital in the Mukuru kwa Njenga district of Nairobi said that the first cases had been reported on Monday, but had increased substantially by Friday.

We have so far recorded nine deaths from the Mukuru slums in Nairobi ...

—Physician at Kenyatta National Hospital

"We have so far recorded nine deaths from the Mukuru slums in Nairobi and some of them might have also died at home and so we believe this number is very conservative because it is not accounting for home deaths," said a physician at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

The outbreak has been blamed on poor sanitation and low levels of hygiene. Community health worker Peninah Nzuki told the Daily Nation news agency that “the water is dirty and the levels of hygiene are poor, thus the disease is spreading fast."

Officials, however, have warned that the true death toll may be higher than indicated, as some people might have died before reaching hospitals.