The death of a 31-year-old Kenyan man from the mosquito borne virus, yellow fever, has put the country’s health workers of high alert looking out for travelers with symptoms of the disease.
According to Kenyan media, the individual had been living in Angola for the better part of a decade, where there is currently a large outbreak of yellow fever, but arrived in Kenya this weekend sick.
He sought treatment at a health facility that referred him to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where advanced yellow fever symptoms were detected. He died at KNH.
Health officials will now be expected to investigate anyone with a history of travel to Angola with acute onset of fever, followed by jaundice within two weeks of onset of first symptoms.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. The virus is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The majority of persons infected with yellow fever virus have no illness or only mild illness. In persons who develop symptoms, the incubation period (time from infection until illness) is typically 3–6 days. The initial symptoms include sudden onset of fever, chills, severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea, and vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Most persons improve after the initial presentation.
After a brief remission of hours to a day, roughly 15% of cases progress to develop a more severe form of the disease. The severe form is characterized by high fever, jaundice, bleeding, and eventually shock and failure of multiple organs.
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever; care is based on symptoms. Steps to prevent yellow fever virus infection include using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and getting vaccinated.
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