The Nairobi city government has ordered that the traffic police headquarters food canteen be closed to contain the spread of cholera.
Monday, the number of people infected with cholera rose to 92 - 87 police officers and five security guards stationed at the Multimedia University.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said the canteen was suspected to be the cause of the outbreak.
Most of the officers admitted to hospital are said to have eaten lunch at the canteen. Mailu said the canteen would remain closed until investigations were concluded.
“We believe the source of infection was the canteen and it will be closed so that we can investigate whether all the food was prepared there or there was any outsourcing,” he said.
Mailu said by Monday, 50 police officers were admitted to Sinai Hospital, 34 to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, and 18 at Kenyatta National Hospital.
The officers were part of a team camping in hostels at the Multimedia University to deal with any violence that might have erupted after the Supreme Court ruling on the presidential election results on Friday.
Corporal Jack Nzioka, a cholera victim, considers himself lucky to be alive.
The 43-year-old officer was among those who were taking the sick to hospital and was surprised when the doctor told him he could not leave the hospital precincts.
“After taking my sick colleagues to hospital I decided to get tested and that is how I found out I was infected. To my surprise, the doctor insisted that he could not let me get out of the hospital and I was immediately booked and isolated from other patients,” said Nzioka.
The policeman said he could not put a finger on the exact cause of the disease since he said he had eaten from various places on the fateful day. However, he said he was recovering well and hoped to be discharged soon.
The Multimedia University management yesterday rejected claims that the contaminated food had been prepared at the campus.
At a press briefing, they collaborated reports by the Health Ministry that the officers ate elsewhere and not on campus.
“We want to state that all is well with all our members of staff and students. No case has been reported from them and all activities are taking place in our universities,” said Onesmus Maloki, the secretary general of the local chapter of the University Academic Staff Union.
At the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, cholera victims have been isolated and are being treated on the third floor. Normal operations are, however, going on.
Mailu has ordered fresh vetting of all eateries and food handlers to stem the spread of the disease. The CS said the preparation of food by unhygienic handlers had led to the cholera nightmare.
“All food proprietors should adhere to this directive because we will be after those who operate outside the law,” said Mailu.
He explained that the continued lack of water in Nairobi did little to ease the cholera menace and urged the public to avoid using untreated water.
The county health executive, Bernard Muia, observed that the police officers were recovering and were in a stable condition.