Kenya Declares Yellow Fever Outbreak; Three Deaths Reported

Kenya has declared a yellow fever outbreak after 15 Kenyans were suspected to have the disease but only three cases have been confirmed.

Kenya has declared a yellow fever outbreak after Isiolo County reported new cases in Merti and Garbatulla sub-counties, a statement by the Ministry of Health states. 

Acting Director-General of Health, Dr Patrick Amoth says 15 people are suspected to have the disease, but only three cases have been confirmed.

“The first case was detected on 12th January 2022. To date, 15 patients presenting with fever, jaundice, muscle pain and joint pain have been line-listed; the youngest being 11 years and the oldest being 65 years,” Amoth said in a letter to health CECs across the country on Friday.

“Sadly, we have recorded three deaths so far. Out of the six samples analysed at KEMRI, three turned positive through serology (Immunoglobulin M) and PCR,” Amoth said.

“This is, therefore, to raise an alarm in all the 47 counties more so the high-risk counties including Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Meru, Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Turkana,” the statement says. 


The symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. 

“A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days,” the World Health Organisation states.  

“Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity, due to lack of vaccination. In these conditions, infected mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species transmit the virus from person to person.” 

According to the World Health Organization, Yellow fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is safe and affordable. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to grant sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease.

Following the outbreak, the Ministry of Health plans to conduct yellow fever vaccination in Isiolo and other high risks counties including Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Meru Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Turkana and possibly Tana river and Mandera.

A booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 10 days for 80-100 per cent of people vaccinated, and within 30 days for more than 99 per cent of people vaccinated.

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IK is a Masinde Muliro University graduate. His interests are in news and analysis on women's rights, politics, technology, law, and global affairs.

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