Rift Valley Fever :: Rift valley fever kills 52 in Kenya – update

The death toll from the outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Kenya’s Wajir District has risen to 52 after four people reportedly died. According to reports, the Rift Valley fever killed three other people in neighbouring Isiolo District.

The Kenyan Ministry of Health is carrying out clinical case management, surveillance and social mobilization activities, and mosquito net distribution. Social mobilization is aimed at reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission via unprotected animal husbandry and slaughter practices.

The international response to the outbreak includes the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, WHO, WFP, UNICEF, FAO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Medecins Sans Frontieres- France and Belgium, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Atlanta, Epicentre and a number of local Nongovernmental organizations.

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis (affects primarily domestic livestock, but can be passed to humans) causing fever. It is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The disease is caused by the RVF virus, a member of the genus Phlebovirus (family Bunyaviridae). The disease was first reported among livestock in Kenya around 1915, but the virus was not isolated until 1931. RVF outbreaks occur across sub-Saharan Africa, with outbreaks occurring elsewhere infrequently

In humans the virus can cause several different syndromes. Usually sufferers have either no symptoms or only a mild illness with fever, headache, myalgia and liver abnormalities. In a small percentage of cases (< 2%) the illness can progress to hemorrhagic fever syndrome, meningo-encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or affecting the eye. Patients who become ill usually experience fever, generalized weakness, back pain, dizziness, and weight loss at the onset of the illness. Typically, patients recover within 2-7 days after onset.

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