BE WARNED! The Stomach Bug Norovirus Has Ripped Through Thika Town.



Thika Town and its environs could be facing a norovirus epidemic after virtually all the local primary schools and several other government and private institutions having recorded cases of some stomach virus though that norovirus has yet to be confirmed.  

Earlier last week, several schools reported cases of the virus in their children and sounded an alarm. The Thika branch of the Gertrude's Children’s Hospital plus several other private health institutions have confirmed receiving several cases within the week, expressing fears of the outbreak.

Several officers especially in government offices are currently on sick leave after the attack. The situation is a replica in many offices more so those that are frequented by members of public.

Some sources from the Ministry of Health have pointed out that the situation could be as a result the current drought situation that had brought about water scarcity.

Thika Water & sewerage Company (THIWASCO) management on Friday released a press statement exonerating themselves from blame. They said that the random water samples they took from various spots in Thika Town showed the water was very fit for human consumption.

“Following reported incidences of diarrhea in Thika town our Water quality assurance team together with the County public health department have embarked on a widespread water sampling at the consumer points today (Friday) and tomorrow. Preliminary results show that water at all sampled points so far at affected areas is fit for consumption with no indication of contamination. We are also made to understand that preliminary indicators through other health laboratory partners demonstrate that a rotavirus is the problem and is not waterborne. We therefore wish to assure all our esteemed water customers that the water supplied by THIWASCO meets both WHO and KEBS standards for drinking water and is safe for consumption,” read the statement by the THIWASCO management.

Our sources in the health department encouraged residents to practice basic hygiene of washing hands with soap as they discourage kids from eating foodstuff purchased from street vendors especially mandazi, roast maize and fruits.

Responding via phone, Kiambu Health CEC Dr. Jonah Maina confirmed his office receiving reports of these ailments but failed to confirm whether this was actually the norovirus.

“Yes, we have heard about these complaints but we cannot at this time confirm whether it is the norovirus until we get the laboratory results. There are so many diseases with similar symptoms so we can’t say that it is the stomach bug until we are sure. We will give our statement after 72 hours (next Friday),” said the CEC.

Norovirus is a bacterial infection that primarily causes diarrhea and stomach cramping along with fever, nausea and vomiting in some cases. Public places are a breeding ground for this highly contagious bug. Norovirus is easily spread among children and staff in schools and their families through contact with infected foods and faeces. It is very unpleasant and usually clears itself up in a few days.

The disease spreads easily spreads around public places and is transmitted when a tiny particle of vomit or poo from an infected person gets into someone else’s mouth. Signs and symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after first exposure to the virus and last one to three days.

Doctors say if you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is to stay at home until you’re feeling better. Its symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and typically last for up to two or three days, with people urged to drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.

People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:
  • eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus by food handlers who have not washed their hands adequately
  • touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth or eating before washing their hands
  • having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill)
Persons working in day-care centers or nursing homes should pay special attention to children or residents who have norovirus illness. This virus is very contagious and can spread rapidly throughout such environments.
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