NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – Surveillance has been intensified in Wajir County after four people died following an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF).
Two had consumed meat from a sick camel a week prior to their admission at the Wajir County Referral hospital.
In a statement, Director of Veterinary Services Obadiah Njagi notes that to date, active surveillance by the Wajir Surveillance team has traced 10 cases all from the same location.
“The outbreak is worrying and so additional laboratory samples from suspect human and animal cases are currently being collected for further testing,” he said.
Meanwhile residents in areas bordering Wajir have been advised to be on the lookout for signs of the disease, which affects both livestock and humans.
“Pastoralists in Danaba, Shirshir, Elrhamu, Dandu, Kutulo and Burumayo and other areas bordering Wajir should report any suspected signs of this disease to our officers immediately,” he said.
“A joint multi agency RVF outbreak preparedness committee comprising public and animal health experts from the government and non-governmental agencies has been set up to provide weekly situation reports to the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health,” he noted.
The Rift Valley Fever is a viral disease that affects mainly animals and occasionally humans and is frequently reported following heavy rainfall and floods.
In the periods between March and May 2018, most parts of the country received above average rainfall resulting in widespread flooding.
Measures that have been put in place to avert the risk of human infection from RVF and other zoonotic diseases include using protective equipment such as gloves and protective gear when assisting animal births, avoid handling and consumption of uninspected meat, use insecticide treated mosquito nets etc.
Besides the increased risk of water borne diseases like cholera, flooding provides ideal conditions for mosquito breeding and increased risk for vector borne diseases like Rift Valley Fever.
To aid in early detection and response in the event of an outbreak, residents have been urged to report all cases of sudden death and abortion in livestock to the nearest veterinary office.
Also all persons who experience fever of unknown origin should report to the nearest health facility as soon as possible.