Kenya reports yellow fever outbreak, raises alarm in 47 counties

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has declared an outbreak of yellow fever, an acute illness caused by a virus that’s transmitted by mosquitoes.

New cases of the disease have been detected in Isiolo Country, the upper eastern region of Kenya, while counties bordering Isiolo have been placed in the high-risk bracket, the ministry said in a statement.

Studies show that most yellow fever cases that are identified in Africa are seen in the unvaccinated population who live in the yellow fever belt.

Over the last 25 years, yellow fever has been persistently reported in West and Central Africa.

In East Africa, the yellow fever cases have been mostly reported in Kenya, and a few cases in Uganda and Ethiopia.

Yellow Fever Belt in Africa: PHOTO CREDIT: CDC

Kenya’s Director-General of Health, Dr Patrick Amoth said that in the last month, three people have died of the disease while more than 20 people contracted the yellow fever virus in Imerti and Garbatulla Sub-counties.

About 30% to 60% of all individuals diagnosed with the disease in a given area can die from it.

Six samples were tested by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and three of them turned positive, prompting an alert to all the 47 counties, according to a March 5 report quoted by the Ministry.

According to Dr Amoth, the first case was detected on January 12 and since then, 15 suspected cases have been identified.

The patients have been diagnosed with symptoms such as headache, fever, jaundice, muscles and joint pains.

Reports show young male adults form the majority of the cases detected, the youngest person being an 11-year old and the oldest aged 65.

An alarm has been raised in 47 counties, more so those in the high-risk bracket: Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Meru, Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Turkana.

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