The Ministry of Health has revealed that students at Mukumu Girls High School consumed food contaminated with fresh faeces.
In a statement on Friday, Director General for Health Patrick Amoth said the food was likely contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella typhi bacteria.
“The Ministry wishes to inform the general public that this disease is likely to be a mixture of E. coli and Salmonella typhi, which usually occur if water sources are contaminated with these microorganisms,” he said.
Laboratory investigations carried out on the grains and pulses for aflatoxin turned negative for aflatoxicosis.
“Laboratory tests for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs) including Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), Leptospirosis and Crimean- Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), Dengue Fever, Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and West Nile Virus have all turned negative,” he said.
“The Ministry is conducting further analysis on these samples to ascertain any other potential cause of this illness and will communicate the finding of these tests.”
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms that can cause food poisoning, while Salmonella enterica typhi is a gram-negative bacterium responsible for typhoid fever.
Signs of typhoid are fever, abdominal pain or cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Mukumu Girls was closed indefinitely after two students died and around 500 others were hospitalized.
Another student and a teacher died recently.
Sam Oduor is the editor-in-chief at the Western Kenya Times who leverages the power of the Internet in telling stories that shape opinions.