KAMPALA, Uganda's State Minister for Health in charge of general duties, Sarah Achieng Opendi has confirmed that a disease outbreak which has claimed 10 lives is not cholera as was earlier suspected, but the result of drinking contaminated river water.

The Ministry of Health has sent emergency response teams to Tororo District in eastern Uganda after at least 10 people were reported to have died in last two weeks. The victims, who complained of diarrhoea and vomiting before succumbing to the illness were from villages through which the River Malaba passes in three sub-counties of Tororo County South.

The communities there depend on the river water for both domestic and animal consumption. The latest two victims died in Malaba town on Christmas Eve. Deaths have also been reported from the Kenyan side of the nearby international border with several people admitted to health facilities.

Opendi, who confirmed the disease outbreak Thursday, said it was not cholera as earlier suspected, but the result of consumption of contaminated river water. "Our team from the Ministry is on the ground to ascertain the situation. We have also dispatched cartons of water which are being distributed to the communities and have repaired six boreholes which had broken down. We encourage people to boil their water before they consume it to avoid any more deaths." she said.

River Malaba is a natural boundary between Uganda and Kenya in Tororo District cutting through the four sub-counties of Tororo.


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