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Investigation Of Suspected Malaria Outbreak At A Learning Institution In Kakamega County

On May 24th 2022, the Daily Nation (DN) newspaper reported about an outbreak of infectious disease, suspected to be malaria, at the Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School. The school is located in Kakamega County in Western Region of Kenya.

According to the reports by the newspaper, 28 girls had presented with a history of fever and diarrhea before being admitted at St. Elizabeth Mukumu Mission Hospital. Preliminary findings from the facility, confirmed that nine (32%) students had malaria. The other students were yet to receive a conclusive diagnosis.

Though suspicion pointed toward a malaria outbreak in the school, these symptoms could also point out other possible waterborne/foodborne infections. Moreover, since the students were confined to the school, there was a probability that the infection rates could escalate if not addressed on time through prompt identification of the causative agent and mode of disease transmission, and could even lead to mortalities. Therefore, to arrest the current situation, there was a need for quick and prompt action to investigate the reported outbreak and avert further morbidities and possible mortalities.

Consequently, the county health department sent a request to FELTP to help with the investigation. A team comprising of three FELTP Advanced Level residents, one FELTP Advanced Level Alumni, and representatives from Kakamega county conducted the investigation between the 8th and 13th June 2022.

Objectives of the activity:

  • To confirm the existence of the suspected outbreak at the Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School, May 2022.
  • To determine factors associated with the disease outbreak at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School, May 2022
  • To recommend prevention & control measures for the disease outbreak at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School

At the end of the investigation, the team shared their findings and recommendations with the school management and the County Health Management Team.

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