Rift Valley fever kills one more in Wajir

Wednesday June 13 2018

Mosquito

Human beings can get Rift Valley fever from the bites of infected mosquitoes. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BONIFACE MWANIKI
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By BRUHAN MAKONG
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One more person has died of suspected Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Wajir, bringing death toll to six as panic grips the county.

The victim, who was receiving treatment at the Wajir Referral Hospital, succumbed to the disease on Tuesday night.

Dr Adam Hassan, deputy head in charge of preventive and promotive health care services, said 19 cases have been reported since the outbreak.

Basir area in Eldas is worst hit with 17 cases reported from the area.

Mr Hassan said that majority of the cases have reported contact  with the meat and most of them involved individuals who slaughtered and distributed meat.

He added that they have  set up four isolation centres in  Wajir Referral Hospital,Basir,Arbajahan and Eldas health centres in an effort to control the spread of the disease.

According to Harry Kimtai, Principal Secretary Livestock, the 200,000 doses will help curb the spread of the diseases that has so far claimed lives of five people in Wajir county.

Although no case of RVF has been reported in Tana River, Mandera and Garissa counties, a team of  livestock experts from the ministry have also been sent to the ground to help in the vaccination exercise.

Mr Kimtai said the ministry has already sent an alert to 20 counties; Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Laikipia, Kajiado, Baringo, Wajir, Garissa , Marsabit, Meru, Machakos , Taita Taveta, Tana River, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Murang’a and Kiambu to immediately commence animal vaccination and vector control.

“We are asking all the county governments from to start animal vaccination and cooperate with our team so that we can contain the spread of this diseases,” he said.

However, enhanced surveillance system has identified four counties as potential hotspots. These are, Marsabit, Wajir, Kajiado and Kitui.

The PS noted that already the director of veterinary services has informed the county directors and offered technical advice on disease detection and response.

At the same time, the directorate has set up a RVF alert centre using a toll free line 0800 721 433 for immediate disease notification and response.

Mr Kimtai said a  joint multiagency RVF outbreak technical committee  comprising of public health, animal health experts has been set up to assess the risk situation and advise the government on mitigation measures.

To contain the spread of the disease in Wajir, he said already medical supplies including laboratory equipment and personal protective equipment have been supplied to departments of human and animals health technical support. This is interims of investigation and response protocols which have been shared to Wajir County team.

Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis, which periodically causes disease outbreaks in humans and livestock and is known to have been endemic in sub-Saharan Africa since 1912.

People with RVF have either no symptoms or a mild illness associated with fever and liver abnormalities.

Patients usually experience fever, generalized weakness, back pain, and dizziness at the onset of the illness and weight loss.

In animals, sheep and cattle may have nasal discharge, excess salivation, and loss of appetite, weakness, or diarrhoea.