One dead as rabies, anthrax outbreak hit three wards in Bomet

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok flags off Rabies and Anthrax Vaccines at the county offices. [Gilbert Kimutai, Standard]

Rabies and anthrax breakouts have hit three wards in Bomet County, with several people and animals infected.

Veterinary officers drawn from Longisa, Kipreres, and Kipsonoi wards are battling to contain the outbreak that has claimed the life of one person and seen five members of a family hospitalised.

Several animals have also died, and others are being treated following the outbreak, according to the officials.

A 40-year-old man from Kipreres in Bomet East succumbed while receiving treatment at Longisa after being bitten by a stray dog.

Relatives of the victim said the dog attacked him while at his farm.

“He was attending to his crops, and the dog that was seemingly restless attacked him. We immediately rushed him to hospital,” said a relatives who did not want to be named.

He said tests at the facility showed that he had been infected with rabies but succumbed while receiving treatment.

As the news of the death spread, five family members from the same village were admitted to the facility.

Doctors at the facility said the five patients tested positive for rabies.

They said a wild dog strayed into their home and started attacking members, and their attempts to scare it away were futile.

Agriculture, Fisheries, and Livestock Chief officers Dr Kibert Sitienei said the first case was reported two weeks ago.

Dr Sitienei, while allaying fears that the situation may get out of hand, said already vaccination is underway.

"We have mapped out affected areas, and our officers are actively on the ground trying to contain the situation," he said.

In the wake of the incidents, Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok flagged off a batch of vaccines worth Sh18.8 million to help in the vaccination against the diseases.

Barchok said the vaccines would see 20,000 cows vaccinated as well as 12,000 dogs and cats.

He asked members of the public to ensure their animals are vaccinated to protect them against infection.

Barchok, who was in the company of County Executive Committee member in charge of Agriculture Rosa Langat, said a team of veterinary officials was conducting surveillance to trace animals that are affected.

County Director of Vetinerary Dr Gilbert Koech said the vaccination exercise is being conducted at the ward level.

The county has partnered with Kenya Red Cross Society Bomet branch to conduct the vaccination.