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Kenya confirm deaths from Rift Valley Fever in north east region

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s veterinary authorities on Wednesday confirmed that at least six people have been killed from the Rift Valley Fever (RFV) in Wajir County in northeast region as the viral disease spreads across the border part.

Obadiah Njagi, Director of Veterinary Services in the State Department of Livestock, said all the patients died this month and warned locals against handling meat that has not been inspected.

"To date, active surveillance by the Wajir surveillance team has traced 10 cases, all from the same location (Bashir)," Njagi said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

RVF is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but also has the capacity to infect humans. Infection can cause severe disease in both animals and humans.

Njagi said the flooding which was witnessed in Kenya between March and May due to heavy rains provided ideal conditions for mosquito breeding and increased risk of vector borne diseases like RVF.

He said the first case was reported on June 4 after two relatives were referred to a local hospital with high fever and bleeding from the mouth.

Njagi said one of the patients died the same day of their admission, as situation that has seen the government create a task force in order to reduce new incidences and prevent more deaths.

"It is highly advised that all persons who experience fever of unknown origin should also report to the nearest health facility immediately," said Njagi.

Kenya experienced RVF in 2006 that was preceded by heavy prolonged rainfall and by the time it was managed, 162 people had died and livestock damages amounted to 38,000 U.S. dollars.

The disease also results in significant economic losses due to death and abortion among RVF-infected livestock. In 1997-98, a major outbreak occurred in Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania and in September 2000.

Njagi said the directorate of veterinary services had received reports of clusters of animal deaths and abortions in ships, goats and camels from the veterinary department in Wajir.

"To aid in early detection and response, in the event of an outbreak, all reports of sudden deaths and abortions of livestock should be reported to the nearest veterinary office or any other office," Njagi said.



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