By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

According to a Daily Nation report, at least 19 cases of the parasitic disease visceral leishmaniasis, or kala-azar have been reported in Mandera in northeastern Kenya.

Sandfly/James Gathany

Mandera Public Health Chief Officer Rahma Abdullahi said the patients were referred to Wajir as Mandera cannot treat the disease.

“We are engaging the Vector Borne Disease Control Unit at the Ministry of Health in Nairobi to help us set up treatment centres in Mandera before the situation worsens,” she added.

“The drought in the area is leading to this situation after the sandflies multiplied and since livestock migrated, the flies now bite people, infecting them,” she said.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis has several different forms.

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most serious manifestation, which affects some of the internal organs of the body (such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow).

VL is predominantly transmitted through the bite of an infected female phlebotomine sand fly, although congenital and parenteral transmission (through blood transfusions and needle sharing) have been reported.

According to the World Health Organization, each year between 50,000 and 90,000 people become sick with visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar), which is fatal in more than 95 percent of cases left untreated.