Three people have been confirmed dead, and three more are being treated at the Marimanti level 4 hospital in Tharaka Nithi County after consuming honey.
Victor Nkari, 71, of Kithioroka’s Muguruka village, is said to have harvested the aforementioned honey from his bee hives on Saturday evening and then returned home as usual.
When Nkari returned home, he fed the honey to his one grandchild and daughter-in-law before proceeding to make a local brew with the remaining honey, as is the custom of the elderly in the Atharaka community.
After sleeping for a while that night, Nkari awoke his son, complaining of dehydration.
He would later collapse at home, where his family discovered him lying helpless, having vomited several times.
They then sought help from the neigbours to help them rush rush the elderly man to hospital.
Unfortunately, it was too late by the time neighbors gathered. The elderly man had died.
A lingering mystery is how Nkari’s daughter-in-law and grandchild, who both consumed the same honey, did not develop any complications.
As his son accompanied other neighbors and family members to Marimanti Mortuary early in the morning, his grandson Charles Kithinji from Matakiri, along with Mzee Nkari’s sons, Robert Muthengi and Peter Kinyua, are said to have consumed what was left of their father’s brew.
Around 2 p.m. on Sunday, the three began complaining of stomach aches and vomiting, but they assumed it was due to the honey.
While the family was deciding how to transport the three to the hospital for medication, word came that a neighbor only identified as Kiruuthu, who also had a share of the drink, had died from the same complications.
Another neighbor, Miriti Kibayo, who had also taken part in the drinking spree, was reported to be suffering from stomach ache and vomiting, but he was nowhere to be found to accompany others to the hospital.
Following the seriousness of the situation, plans were immediately made to rush the available three to Marimanti level 4 hospital for emergency treatment, with other neighbors tasked with looking for Miriti and rushing him to hospital.
Unfortunately, Miriti passed on shortly after getting to Marimanti hospital for pushing the list of casualties to three.
When Citizen Digital visited the three at the facility where they are being treated, Robert Muthengi and Peter Kinyua complained of mild stomach aches, vomiting, and general body weakness, but they are making good progress.
Mzee Nkari’s elderly neighbor, Priscilla Ciang’ombe, is said to have collapsed and fainted after learning of the tragic deaths.
Meanwhile, a dog from the same family is said to have died after eating honey combs from the honey harvested, resulting in the same deaths.
This comes on the same day that Paul Muriungi’s 7-year-old son from Giichini village, Thiiti location in Tharaka North Sub County, died after eating honey in a similar case.
The boy’s mother, a Kabonokia sect member, ignored her son’s condition and went silent, and the boy died around 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
It took the efforts of neighbors to get the other children from the area who had fed on the honey to Mukothima mission hospital, with one of them in critical condition, because the Kabonokia sect forbids members of the denomination from seeking medical care.
However, the issue of honey-related deaths and complications is not new. Several such cases have occurred in the past, including one from Igambang’ombe in which one person and two others were hospitalized after consuming wild honey, among many others.
Residents are now perplexed as to what has changed with honey, which they have been using for a long time without any cases of poisoning occurring.
In the case of the now-deceased Mzee Nkari, his son claims that he has been doing bee farming for a long time as a source of income and his death is all puzzling.
“Bees farming being a source of income, my father has been doing this for long time and we have never experienced such cases before. We are therefore in shock how the unfortunate deaths occurred from the honey that we have used for long,’’ he said.
Because honey is commonly used for a variety of purposes, including medication, residents now want relevant bodies to investigate what is really going on because no poisoning cases have occurred previously, and they believe there is a need to prevent more deaths from occurring as a result of the same.
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