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Rift Valley Fever outbreak declared in E. Lakes

Hon James Janka Duku, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries declaring RVF outbreak in Yirol © WHO

The ministries of health and livestock and fisheries, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization have declared outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Eastern Lakes State.

The outbreak was first suspected in December 2017, following three deaths in humans with a history of severe hemorrhagic illness in Thonabutkok village, Yali Payam, Yirol East County, Eastern Lakes State, according to the World Health Organization.

In January, health officials in the area told Eye Radio that four people died after contracting a virus with symptoms that include bleeding and vomiting blood.

There were also reports of animal deaths and abortions.

The World Health Organization and FAO then launched a response with the Ministry of Health and other partners.

It had earlier said it was monitoring 60 people who came in contact with the dead to establish whether they were also infected.

“There is a confirmed outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Yirol East county in Eastern Lakes state, in response into the report of deaths and abortion among goats, sheep and cows 21 samples were collected,” said James Janka Duku, the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries.

“Among human investigation into cluster of deaths Thonabutkok village, Yali Payam in Yirol, it identified 35 suspected human cases, out of which six laboratory confirmed.”

RVF is a viral zoonotic disease that primarily affects animals, but also has the capacity to infect humans.

People are infected with RVF virus through contact with blood, body fluids, or tissues of RVF virus-infected animals, mainly livestock.

This direct contact with infected animals can occur during slaughter or veterinary procedures, like assisting an animal giving birth.

It is characterized by fever, muscle pains, and headaches which often last for up to a week.

The severe symptoms may include: loss of sight, infections of the brain and bleeding.