By Betty Luke
Isiolo county government has differed with the government’s data on fatalities from yellow fever outbreak reported in the county.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) Saturday, in a statement by Director General Dr Patrick Amoth, said three people had died and 15 cases reported since January 12 with affected areas being Garbatulla and Merti.
The patients presented headache, fever, jaundice, nausea and joint pain symptoms.
The government said out of six samples tested by Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), three turned positive.
Dr Amoth, while declaring the outbreak and issuing an alert to counties neighbouring Isiolo, said majority of those affected were male with the oldest patient aged 65 years and the youngest 11 years old.
But Isiolo Health Executive Wario Galma contended that only one of the three fatalities died from the virus and that the cause of the other deaths had not been established.
“We have 17 cases so far. Out of 10 samples sent, three turned positive and six negative,” he said while issuing an update over the disease.
He said two more suspected cases had been reported by Friday bringing the total number to 17.
Two of the patients are hospitalized at Isiolo Referral Hospital.
Majority of the cases are from Cherab (9), Chari (3), Gafarsa (2) and Sericho has so far reported one case.
Mr Galma said the patients had been treated at the Garbatulla and Merti Sub-County hospitals and local health facilities in Gafarsa and Korbesa areas.
The health department, he said, had deployed three experts to help in active case tracing in Sericho, Merti and Garbatulla areas where the health department had intensified surveillance.
The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and serious cases can cause fatal heart, kidney and liver complications resulting to death.
Classified as a low risk country, Kenya’s last outbreak was six years ago (March 2016) with the first having occurred in 1992.
Isiolo being predominantly pastoralist, the risk remains high due to importation of cases by herders on the move in search for pastures and water for their animals therefore need for the county to remain alert.
Need for vaccination of travelers is therefore paramount.
Meanwhile, Isiolo Woman Rep aspirant Sumeya Bishar asked national and county government to provide residents in the affected areas with mosquito nets to keep the virus at bay.
“The government should move with speed and provide necessary assistance including provision of nets. Our people should also undertake bush clearing to keep off the insects,” she said.
Ms Bishar spoke shortly after her endorsement by 11 Somali clans to vie for Isiolo Woman Rep seat.