KENYA: Country on High Alert following Second Case of Yellow Fever

NAIROBI MARCH 18, 2016 (CISA) – Kenya has increased its surveillance after confirmation of a second case of yellow fever, the Ministry of Health has said.

According to the ministry, laboratory investigations for two new cases conducted at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) tested positive for one, and negative for the other – bringing to two confirmed cases of the virus in the country.

The first case of the virus was confirmed March 16 after a 31-year-old Kenyan man, died at Kenyatta National Hospital after contracting the virus in Angola early this month.

The man arrived at the JKIA March 13 from Luanda, the epicentre of large yellow fever virus outbreak and had been unwell for four days before arriving in Kenya.

In Angola the disease has killed more than 250 people since last December according to officials. As a result the Ministry of Health has called on Kenyans to be on the lookout for symptoms and report cases to the nearest health facility.

“We stepped up surveillance, preparedness and response measures to secure Kenya from the Yellow Fever Virus… This has been necessitated by the index case and the continuing outbreak in Angola,” said Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr Cleopa Mailu in a statement.

The CS said ministry officials are now screening travellers who come from or transit through yellow fever-risk countries, checking if they have been vaccinated against the disease.

“Since the beginning of March, 2,718 passengers have been screened at JKIA alone, and six people from the affected country were denied entry due to lack of proof for yellow fever vaccination,” he said adding that an alert has also been sent to all counties, hospitals and points of entry, including measures to be taken to identify possible cases early.

Yellow fever is caused by the yellow fever virus, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito – the common mosquito that bites during the day.

Once contracted, the virus incubates in the body for three to six days, followed by illness whose symptoms include fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.

Vaccination is the single most important measure for preventing yellow fever. The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Latin America.

The last outbreak of yellow fever in Kenya occurred in 1992.

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