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Kenya issues Yellow Fever alert

Health & Science

NAIROBI: The Government has issued a Yellow Fever alert after one case was reported in Nairobi. Health officials within the country are now required to vet individuals arriving from Yellow Fever high risk countries.

Acting Director of Medical Services, Dr Jackson Kioko Wednesday said health workers at points of entry should ensure all travellers from high risk countries (including Angola) have valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificates.

"Investigate anyone with a history of travel to Angola presenting with acute onset of fever, followed by jaundice within two weeks of onset of first symptoms. The suspected case may or may not have hemorrhagic manifestations," said Kioko in a statement to newsrooms Wednesday.

He added: "Conduct active suspected yellow fever case search in all health facilities and communities for missed or unreported cases. Strengthen surveillance activities up to the village level and ensure 100 per cent case based reporting."

The reported case is of a 31 year old Kenyan male who arrived in the country March 12 through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Luanda-Angola, the centre of the outbreak.

The patient visited a private health facility in Eastleigh - Nairobi twelve hours later with symptoms of fever, joint pains and bleeding tendencies.

The clinician suspected hemorrhagic fever and transferred the patient to Kenyatta National Hospital where he later developed jaundice, confusion and kidney failure.

Laboratory tests conducted at the Kenya medical Research Institute (KEMRI) tested positive for Yellow Fever immunoglobulin M antibodies and negative for Ebola and Marburg. He however later succumbed to multi-organ failure.

Angola is currently facing a huge yellow fever outbreak where about 138 deaths have been reported while approximately 810 people have been infected. This was the first epidemic of the disease to hit the country in 30 years.

The last recorded case in the country was in 2010 in the north, where 13 cases were confirmed, 272 cases were suspected cases out of which 58 people died.

According to the World Health Organisation, Yellow Fever is a viral disease, found in tropical regions of Africa and the Americas.

It principally affects humans and monkeys, and is transmitted via the bite of Aedes mosquitoes.

The first symptoms of the disease usually appear three to six days after infection. The first phase is characterized by fever, muscle pain, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

After three to four days, most patients improve and symptoms disappear. However, in a few cases, the disease enters a "toxic" phase where fever reappears, and the patient develops jaundice and sometimes bleeding, with blood appearing in the vomit.

About 50 per cent of patients who enter the toxic phase die within 10 to14 days. There is no specific treatment for Yellow Fever. Vaccination is highly recommended as a preventive measure for travellers to, and people living in endemic countries.

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