One person has died, while 36 others are currently recuperating at the Kericho County Referral Hospital after they consumed mutton suspected to be unfit for human consumption.
It is reported that a male adult and two minors from Kapkikoro village within Soliat Ward in Soin/Sigowet Sub-county of Kericho, were rushed to Sigowet Sub-County Hospital Saturday after they complained of diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.
According to the at the Kericho Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Japhet Cheruiyot, the patients were reported to have consumed what was suspected to be infected mutton, from a goat that had been slaughtered and sold locally by one of the neighbours.
“The three patients were transferred to the County Referral Hospital for further treatment Sunday, but unfortunately the male adult passed on Monday morning,” said Dr. Cheruiyot.
In a statement to newsrooms, Dr. Cheruiyot disclosed that Public Health Officers Monday dispatched ambulances to respond to a distress call of another 36 persons from the same village who complained of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Speaking to KNA Tuesday, the medical superintendent said the 36 patients were all in stable condition and called on members of public to be careful and ensure they consume meat which has been inspected and certified as fit for human consumption to avoid cases of food poisoning.
The Soin/Sigowet Sub-County Public Health Officer, Mr. Joseph Kilel, said investigations were ongoing to ascertain the cause of the food poisoning incident.
Mr. Kilel pointed out that food borne illnesses are usually caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water which can cause severe diarrhoea or debilitating infections.
The Public Health Officer further said that food can become contaminated at any point of production and distribution and the primary responsibility lies with food producers, adding that a large proportion of food-borne disease incidences are caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, in food service establishments or at markets.
“Not all food handlers and consumers understand the roles they must play, such as adopting basic hygienic practices when buying, selling and preparing food to protect their health and that of the wider community,” he said.
Kilel also urged members of the public to be extra careful of the food stuff they consume by checking cleanliness of the environment and persons handling the food, adding that meat should only be bought from licensed butcheries.
“To avert such cases, people should buy meat from licensed butcheries, since that is where they can be sure, the meat has been inspected and certified.
According to the World Health Organization, unsafe food poses global health threats, endangering everyone. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying illness are particularly vulnerable.
WHO says every year, 220 million children contract diarrhoeal diseases and 96, 000 die, since unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of diarrhoea and malnutrition, threatening the nutritional status of the most vulnerable.