KENYA – Barely a week after the gates of Mukumu Girls were re-opened, 11 learners have been admitted to hospital after complaining of abdominal pain and fatigue.

Sister Jane Mmbone, the Principal of the school, verified the incident but stated that there was no need for panic since the youngsters were recuperating.

“In fact, three of the students have been discharged after their condition improved and are back in school,” said Mmbone.

She claimed that the other students returned to class before fully recovering and hence were still receiving treatment and having their conditions constantly monitored.

More than 500 students from Mukumu Girls’ High School were last month reported to have contracted an unknown foodborne illness and 124 of them were admitted to the Kakamega County Medical Hospital. This led to the closure of the school.

Traceback investigations together with laboratory analysis later pinpointed Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Salmonella from contaminated water sources as the two culprits behind the food poisoning incident.

The incident claimed the lives of four students and one staff attributed to organ failure.

Last week, the county government of Kakamega incinerated 73 tonnes of contaminated maize and beans from the school.

The school administration canceled all food supplier bids and chose three temporary vendors who had already been approved to supply food to other schools.

The school receives water from the Tindinyo Water Treatment Plant thanks to the Lake Victoria North Water Works and Development Agency (LVNWWDA), a division of the Ministry of Water.

Water from the Tindinyo Water Treatment Plant is provided to the school by the Ministry of Water through the Lake Victoria North Water Works and Development Agency (LVNWWDA).

The LVNWWDA’s Manager of planning and strategy, Mr. Ibrahim Oluoch, reported that the school’s two boreholes were no longer supplying water.

“The boreholes need to be flushed and chlorinated before the school can resume pumping water to the nine storage tanks for supply to the hostels,” he said.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu had earlier revealed that his Ministry had allocated Sh6 million (U.S$ 44,559) for the installation of a water purifier at the school and the drilling of a new borehole.

After being tested, the water will be piped to the storage tanks.

A nurse has also been assigned to the school to handle any medical issues affecting students before sending them to nearby hospitals for care.

Students who have pre-existing medical conditions were evaluated by a doctor and had their information documented for future medical care.

Sister Aqminatta Lumili, the diocesan health coordinator for Kakamega Catholic Diocese, said all the students who reported were taken for counseling to help them settle down and resume learning after the outbreak of the disease that had disrupted their studies.

“We are asking parents and learners to tell us if the learners have other conditions that could affect their health, such as diabetes and allergies so that they can be treated in case of an emergency,” she said.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.