Fear Looms As Rift Valley Fever Is Confirmed In Marsabit

An outbreak of the Rift Valley Fever (RVF) has been reported in Marsabit County, with the government sounding an alert to residents to be vigilant, so as not to contract the deadly virus.

Marsabit County Deputy Governor, Solomon Gubo, said that four positive cases out of 43 samples already analyzed at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) have been confirmed positive.

Gubo, during the County Steering Group (DSG) meeting held at Jirme Hotel, said that two cases of livestock out of eight samples that were sent to the same laboratories also turned positive for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

All the confirmed cases were from the Shurr area, Turbi-Bubisa Ward in North Horr Constituency, where many animal abortions, have also been recorded

The Deputy Governor expressed concern that the Devolved Unit’s capacity to contain the deadly virus was inadequate and appealed to the National Government and other partners, to make interventions, as a matter of urgency.

The Deputy Governor said intervention measures were underway with the residents being educated on avoiding contact with animals they suspect to be sick and getting rid of mosquito breeding grounds.

Gubo also disclosed that an upsurge of malaria outbreaks has hit the Saku and Moyale Sub-counties, despite the county not being a malaria-prone zone.

While disclosing that measures to get rid of mosquitoes have been enhanced with spraying of households and homesteads against the vector, he urged locals to sleep under mosquito nets and to seek treatment immediately if they developed fever or felt unwell.

The County Executive Member for Health, Grace Galmo, said that all the confirmed cases were outpatient, adding that there were no admissions or deaths reported so far.

She attributed the outbreaks to the just concluded El-Nino rains, which led to the multiplication of mosquitoes, which are responsible for spreading the disease from livestock to human beings.

Galmo added that more samples were being sent to KEMRI and that the extent of the spread would be known once the results were out.

She expressed frustrations in tackling the situation citing a lack of resources to enable the Department of Health to procure nets, vaccines and drugs.

Galmo said five out of the 43 affected cases were children aged less than ten years, adding that disease surveillance has been stepped up across the county.

The confirmation came as two Rift Valley fever cases were reported in the neighbouring Wajir County.

Meanwhile, the government spokesperson, Isaac Mwaura, disclosed that the Ministry of Health has so far distributed 1.2 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets across the country.