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Ministry of Health confirms Yellow Fever outbreak

Health & Science

Yellow Fever is spread by mosquitoes. [File, Standard]

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Isiolo and raised the alert in the high-risk counties of Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Meru, Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, and Turkana.

In a statement dated March 3, 2022, acting Director-General for Health, Dr Patrick Amoth, said three people have succumbed to the viral disease spread by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

According to Dr Amoth, the first case was detected on January 12, 2022, and has since been listed in Isiolo's Merti and Garbatulla sub-counties where 15 patients, including an 11-year-old, are currently presenting symptoms.

“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,” stated Amoth in a statement.


Acting Director-General for Health Dr Patrick Amoth addressing speaks at Afya House, Nairobi. August 30, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Amoth explained that the majority of the infected are young male adults and reiterated that the ministry plans to conduct vaccination to curb its spread across all 47 counties.

“The National Government and partners are mobilizing resources to support response activities. High-risk counties are advised to mobilize resources to support response and prevention activities,” he added.

The acute viral hemorrhagic disease is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America. It is prevented by a single dose vaccine that is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against the disease.

Once contracted, the virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days. Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

However, a small percentage of patients enter a second, more toxic phase within 24 hours of recovering from initial symptoms. Half of the patients who enter the toxic phase die within 7 - 10 days.

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