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In a follow-up on the yellow fever outbreak in Kenya, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports an yellow fever outbreak was declared on March 4 by Kenyan authorities in Isiolo County, approximately 270 km north of the capital city of Nairobi.

Aedes aegypti/CDC

Since January 12, suspected yellow fever cases have been reported from eight villages within three sub-counties in Kenya.

As of 10 March 2022, there are a total of 15 suspect yellow fever cases (including four deaths) reported. Three sub-counties of Chari (33%), Cherab (46%) and Garba Tulla (20%) have been affected in Isiolo County.

There is no information on the vaccination status of the reported cases, however both the origin and the surrounding counties have no history of vaccination campaign or routine immunization.

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Kenya is endemic for yellow fever and is classified as a high-risk country in the “Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics” (EYE) Strategy. However, YF hasn’t been documented previously in Isiolo County. Previous outbreaks have been reported in 1992, 1993, 1994, and 2016 (where two cases were imported from Angola. Kenya has not yet benefited from large-scale preventive mass vaccination campaigns and has not introduced yellow fever vaccine into routine immunization (RI) nation-wide (YFRI is limited to four counties in the north west of country, not directly bordering Isiolo). Due to the minimal population immunity, there is high risk of outbreak amplification.