A sombre mood has gripped residents of Ebusambe village, Matungu constituency, Kakamega county, following the death of a 3-year-old baby, who succumbed after eating poisonous cassava.
Five other people, including four children, are fighting for their lives at Matungu Hospital after consuming the cassava meal.
Dolphine Shiundu, the mother of the children, told K24 Digital that she bought the cassava from her husband's brother after the children insisted they wanted a cassava meal for lunch.
"I bought some cassavas from the children's uncle and prepared it for lunch", Shiundu said.
According to the woman, a few hours after the children consumed the cassava, they started complaining of stomachaches while others experience severe diarrhoea.
“I was called by my brother Dennis Shiundu who informed me that the children and our mother had fallen sick after eating cassava and had been rushed to Matungu hospital. I went to the hospital to find out what had happened. On arrival, I found my three-year-old daughter in critical condition. The doctors put her on oxygen support but she, unfortunately, passed on,” she added.
Doctors at the hospital said the other children are out of danger.
“We are still observing them to ensure they have recovered fully before discharging them,” one of the doctors attending to the children said.
Matungu sub-county public health officer Kevin Lumwachi said the children and their grandmother had suffered cassava poisoning.
“Apart from the youngest who succumbed, the rest responded well to medication and are out of danger," Lumwachi stated.
The body of the deceased child was taken to Bungoma Hospital mortuary awaiting autopsy.
According to the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agency, Cassava, an edible tuberous root often made into flour, contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can result in fatal cyanide poisoning if not properly detoxified by soaking, drying, and scraping before being consumed.