Kenyan health authorities in the north-eastern Wajir County have banned the movement of cloven-hoofed animals and the consumption of meat and milk following a localised outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) that has killed at least 4 people and 40 domestic animals.

Image/Robert Herriman
Image/Robert Herriman

The RVF outbreak has killed 4 people and at least 40 domestic animals, including camels and goats. Most of the deceased passed away a few hours after consuming meat from animals that have died since the disease outbreak was confirmed on June 4.

Wajir Country Health Chief Executive Officer Wajir Afya said the disease was confirmed when one of two human tissue samples sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) early in June tested positive for the virus.  

“We have effected an immediate ban on meat and milk consumption in Eldas and Wajir West sub-counties. We have also up-scaled food quality control and inspections in the other four sub-counties to prevent the further spread of RVF,” Afya said.

Presently, four patients are receiving treatment at different hospitals in the county. Prior to the confirmation of the human strain of the virus, livestock farmers in the Basir sub-county reported sudden deaths, abortions and bleeding among their animals.

Thereafter, two patients who presented symptoms of high fever and bleeding through the mouth were admitted at the Wajir Referral Hospital, leading to tests which confirmed livestock were the source of the outbreak.

Two emergency response teams that include public and veterinary health officials have been dispatched to conduct emergency disease control measures in the affected areas. However, the effort is severely hampered by the lack of RVF vaccines for livestock.