In Kenya, the government has activated its health emergency response mechanisms following the death of three persons attributed to an outbreak of yellow fever in Isiolo County.
According to Acting Director General of Health Patrick Amoth, the first case was detected on January 12th this year while 15 patients presenting with fever, jaundice, muscle and joint pains have been line-listed.
“Out of the six samples analysed at KEMRI ,3 turned positive through serology (immunoglobulin M) and PCR. This is therefore to raise the alert in 47 counties, more so the high-risk counties of Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Meru, Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Turkana.” Said Amoth.
He says the ministry has put in place a national incident management structure to manage the outbreak and is developing a response plan to deploy a rapid response team to Isiolo and neighbouring counties to establish the magnitude and extent of the outbreak, determine at-risk population, conduct a risk assessment, initiate risk communication and community engagement activities and to implement integrated vector control measures.
According to Amoth, the national government and partners are mobilizing resources to support response activities even as he advised high-risk counties to mobilize resources to support response and prevention activities.
Following the outbreak, the ministry of health plans to conduct yellow fever vaccination in Isiolo and other high risks counties including Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Meru Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Turkana and possibly Tana river and Mandera.
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes of the Aedes species. Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Yellow Fever Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once contacted, it incubates in the body for three to six days followed by illness whose symptoms include fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, shivers, loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting. In severe cases, patients develop jaundice and bleeding.
Vaccination remains the single most important measure for preventing Yellow Fever.
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