Three children died while seven others were hospitalized after consuming a poisonous mushroom.
They consumed the mushrooms in Katendewa village in Ganze on Friday.
Kilifi county medical superintendent Dr. Malik Tajbhai confirmed one died at Bamba Hospital, another died enroute to Kilifi and the third passed on at the Kilifi county hospital HDU.
Tajbhai also confirmed that the mushrooms the children consumed contained amatoxin, a poison that does not have a known antidote.
The children are on supportive treatment.
Speaking in his office on Tuesday, Tajbhai said two of the seven hospitalized are in High Dependence Unit (HDU) while five are in General ward at the Kilifi county and referral hospital.
“We received a call for referral from Bamba sub county hospital on Sunday about the case. we accepted the referral. one of the children died in Bamba. the other one died on the way while being taken to Kilifi and the third one passed on today(Tuesday) at the HDU. Those in the general ward are doing well,” he said.
Christine Furaha, a mother to two of the children who consumed the mushroom, said the children picked the mushrooms from the forest to be cooked as a delicacy.
Furaha said it was not the first time the children pick mushrooms to eat.
“The children picked the mushrooms. They could not tell which ones are edible and which ones are poisonous. They took them to their mother who cooked them without confirming if they are the edible ones. They were served with ugali on Saturday afternoon. it was during the night that they started vomiting,” she said
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Two of them who exhibited serious vomiting were taken to a dispensary but it was closed.
“They were taken to a chemist and they were given an injection and some other tablets. Two more got sick and we took them to Bamba sub county hospital on Sunday morning where one died,” she added
The mother of two is lucky to be alive after she also consumed the mushrooms.
“My two children and just tested the soup but did not eat. My children also complained of stomachache but they are ok now,” she added
Furaha is also expectant.
The children are aged between 3-15 years.
Tajbhai explained that amatoxin is both a hepatoxin (affects the liver), neurotoxin (affects the nervous system) and nephrotoxin (affects the kidneys).
According to Tajbhai, the mushrooms were taken to Pwani University laboratories for analysis.
It is at Pwani University that the poisonous mushrooms were discovered to contain amatoxin.
The mushroom was also discovered to be Reddening Lepiota (Leucoagaricus americanus).
Kilifi county hospital Nurse in charge Mildred Santa said the children had severe vomiting and body malaise.
“Furaha said she had heartburn but she is now ok. We had to do a scan on the baby and the baby is also Ok.,” She said
Katendewa village is one of the areas that were hard hit by hunger,
In February, people in the area used to eat grass after crop failure and mass death of their livestock due to severe drought.
The area currently has recorded good harvest.