Kenya: Alarm Raised Over Rare Disease Affecting Fishermen Within Lake Victoria

Kisumu — An alarm has been raised of a rare disease attacking fishermen in two beaches within Lake Victoria in Nyando Sub County.

Ahero ward MCA Ken Ooko says for the past couple of days, fishermen in the beaches of Singida and Ogenya have complained of ballooning stomachs.

Ooko, who is the Majority Leader in the Kisumu County Assembly says it has been coupled with blood whenever they urinate or pass stool.

He says the symptoms are worrying and needs an urgent cause of action before it brings a calamity among the people.

“The fishermen are worried, they fear more attacks of the strange disease,” he said.

Speaking to the press on Thursday in Kisumu, Ooko called upon the affected people to seek medical advice in hospitals before it escalates.

Already, a team of health officials from the county government of Kisumu had been dispatched to the affected areas to assess the situation.

“Our hospitals have been treating patients with similar symptoms in the recent days but it is important to ascertain what causes the symptoms,” he said.

Ooko hailed the response but also asked the National Government to step in and have tests done in the government’s laboratory to ascertain what kind of disease it could be.

The MCA says four people exhibited similar symptoms in the recent past thus causing an alarm among the fisher folk community in the area.

When contacted, Kisumu County Government Director of Health Fred Oluoch says preliminary investigations point to bilharzia.

Oluoch says more tests will be done on the affected people but called on the residents to avoid walking in water bare foot and instead use gumboots and avoid swimming in the lake and always boil drinking water.

“We are going to scale up health messages among the people, and we will do mass deworming on all the people around the affected areas as we manage the situation,” he said.

Bilharzia is a disease that is caused by parasitic worms and infestation occurs when parasites that are released by certain types of freshwater snails come in contact with the skin or are ingested.

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