KENYA—The Ministry of Health has confirmed the presence of a human case of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in Turbi, North Norr Sub-County, Marsabit County.

This information was disclosed in a media report signed by Dr. Pattrick Amoth, EBS, Ag. Director General for Health.

This is the country’s first reported human case, and ongoing investigations are aimed at identifying further patients and determining the scope of the outbreak.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis caused by the RVF virus, which is a member of the Phlebovirus genus and affects predominantly animals but can potentially infect people.

The majority of human illnesses are caused by contact with infected animals’ blood or organs, however human infections can also be caused by mosquito bites.

According to WHO, Kenya had a total of 684 cases of RVF, including 234 deaths, between November 30, 2006 and March 12, 2007.

A prolonged animal immunization program can prevent outbreaks of RVF in animals.

According to the media announcement, this outbreak is strongly related to the end of El Niño rains, which resulted in an increase in mosquito population and vector-borne illness transmission.

The Director-General for Health warned all counties to keep alert for the potential spread of RVF, considering the reported increase in mosquito population across the nation and the movement of animals.

He emphasized that the County Department should notify all employees about the epidemic and sensitize them to RVF case definitions in order to raise the index of suspicion, as well as communicate case definitions with all health care facilities and reporting units.

 He also advocated for increased surveillance and reporting at all levels, as well as the establishment and/or expansion of capacity for sample referral to National Public Health Laboratories (NPHLS) for confirmation testing.

Using the One Health strategy, count-level multisectoral coordination mechanisms have been urged to activate to oversee prevention and response efforts

He went on to advocate the deployment of integrated vector control systems, as well as the development of RVF-specific preparation and response plans.

He concluded by emphasizing the importance of public awareness campaigns on RVF, as well as preventive measures such as using protective equipment when assisting in animal births and disposing of carcasses, avoiding handling and consumption of uninspected meat, using insecticide-treated nets, and reporting a fever to a nearby health facility for assessment.

The ministry has promised the public that it will collaborate with the Directorate of Veterinary Services to monitor the situation and provide timely updates.

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