6 October 2017

Kenya: Five Counties Hard Hit By Malaria Outbreak

Photo: The Citizen
(file photo).

At least five counties and a refugee camp have been hard hit by malaria outbreak which has so far killed 30 people, among them four children.

According to the Ministry of Health, about 733 cases have been reported in Marsabit, Lamu, Turkana, Baringo, lower West Pokot and Kakuma refugee camp, where 438 people tested positive for the disease.

Another 295 people have been treated and discharged in various county hospitals, as the government moves in to contain the situation by supplying medicine and test kits to the affected counties.

"The county with the highest number of casualties is Marsabit with about 26 deaths," said Council of Governors Chairman Josephat Nanok.

He added that although there was adequate supply of anti-malaria drugs, affected counties had to look for ways of delivering them to remote sub-county health facilities.

AIRLIFTING DRUGS

"We are working with non-governmental organisations to contain the situation and also looking at airlifting drugs into the remote areas like Illeret," he said.

With the numbers rising by the day, Ministry of Health on Wednesday distributed about 4,000 test kits and 24,000 anti-malaria drugs to the affected counties.

At the same time, a team of experts from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) was dispatched on Thursday to get and test blood samples of patients after it emerged that some of the patients treated in Marsabit had shown symptoms similar to those of cerebral malaria.

Director of Kemri Dr Yeri Kombe said: "The team comprising some of our top scientists will travel to hard hit areas over the weekend and by Monday we will be able to conclusively say what the problem is."

BLEEDING

Acting Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health Dr Jackson Kioko had indicated that the ministry wanted to rule out cases of animal-caused illnesses (zoonotic diseases) and viruses which cause bleeding.

"We have noticed other symptoms in some patients such as yellow eyes, and high fevers and we want to rule out any animal-caused illnesses or viruses," said Dr Kioko.

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