Rift Valley fever – Kenya

This year, up to now, a total of 32 human cases have been reported reported in Kenya, of which 14 are confirmed and 11 have died.

Rift Valley fever in humans has been reported in Isiolo and Mandera counties and in animals in Isiolo, Mandera, Murang’a, and Garissa counties.

The 1st case of suspected RVF was reported in late November 2020 following a sudden death of an adult male who was a herder. This was a case from Sericho ward in Garbatulla subcounty, Isiolo county.

Other deaths with symptoms such as fevers, joint pains, headache, and general malaise were also reported in Gafarsa and Erisaboru locations within Garbatulla subcounty as well as Korbesa in Merti subcounty.

Photo: Rift Valley Fever virions inside of cells – Electron micrograph.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral disease of humans and livestock that can cause mild to severe symptoms.

The mild symptoms may include: fever, muscle pains, and headaches which often last for up to a week. The severe symptoms may include: loss of sight beginning three weeks after the infection, infections of the brain causing severe headaches and confusion, and bleeding together with liver problems which may occur within the first few days. Those who have bleeding have a chance of death as high as 50%.

Outbreaks of the disease have only occurred in Africa and Arabia. Outbreaks usually occur during periods of increased rain which increase the number of mosquitoes.

The disease was first reported among livestock in Rift Valley of Kenya in the early 1900s, and the virus was first isolated in 1931.

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