Kenya intensifies efforts to contain Yellow Fever outbreak

KENYA – Kenya has put in place a national incident management structure to manage Yellow Fever after an outbreak was recorded in Isiolo County.

Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by a particular type of mosquito and the virus incubates in the body for three to six days.

The most common mild symptoms in the initial stages are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting while in extreme situations high fever returns and several body systems are affected usually the liver and the kidneys.

The Kenyan government declared an outbreak of Yellow Fever in March 2022 which has seen 53 suspected patients presenting with fever, jaundice, muscle pain and joint pain including six fatalities reported so far.

The Kenya Medical Research Institute conducted laboratory analysis of samples collected from suspected cases through reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and IgM antibodies by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests.

The national laboratory confirmed that two samples (6%) were found to be positive by RT-PCR and six (18%) were positive for IgM antibodies by ELISA.

The government also shipped the samples to the yellow fever regional reference laboratory at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for confirmatory Yellow Fever testing.

Subsequently, Kenya has developed a public health response plan to contain further spread of the viral disease such as deploying a rapid response team to Isiolo and neighboring counties to determine the extent of the outbreak.

The national health authorities are also identifying the at-risk population, implementing integrated vector control measures, conducting a risk assessment along with initiating risk communication and community engagement activities.

The Kenyan government is working together with the World Health Organization and partners including Amref Health Africa, Kenya Red Cross, World Vision, Action Aid among other global institutions to pull resources to help support response activities.

The mobilized resources will support a proposed request to the International Coordinating Group for vaccine provision for reactive yellow fever vaccination in Isiolo with possible extension to any other counties found to have cases or have imminent risk,” reports WHO.

Moreover, the global health organization is currently monitoring the epidemiological situation and review the risk assessment based on the latest available information, the risk is assessed as high at the national and regional levels.

WHO has also recommended active cross-border coordination and information sharing to avoid spill-over in neighboring countries together with enhanced environment surveillance

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