Kenya on high yellow fever alert.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17– Kenya is on high Yellow Fever alert, following the death of a 31 year old Kenyan man who was being treated for the virus.

Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleophas Mailu said that the country had increased surveillance at all points of entry leading to 2,718 passengers being screened for the disease at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) alone, since March 11.

The surveillance also saw six travelers denied entry because they did not have valid Yellow Fever certificates.

Kenya has existing temporary holding rooms for high risk travelers at the JKIA and an eight-bed isolation unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

“The man arrived in the country on March 12 from Angola, which is the epicenter of an ongoing Yellow Fever outbreak. He had been unwell for four days and presented to a private health facility in Nairobi’s Eastleigh, with fever, joint paints, blood stained stood and vomitus,” explained the CS.

Another Yellow Fever case was confirmed on Thursday, from a man who had also travelled to Angola but he was treated and discharged.

Dr. Mailu added that the Ministry was working towards ensuring that the virus was contained urging County governments to ensure set up isolation units.

“We wish to request all Kenyans to remain vigilant and to report any suspect cases to the nearest health facility for immediate verification and investigation. For more information or inquiries, please call the Disease Surveillance Unit on 0729 471414 or 0732 353535,” he said.

Kenya is classified as a low risk country and the last time it recorded an outbreak was in 1992. The importation of cases from travelers however requires the country to remain alert.

“There is currently no evidence of local transmission of Yellow Fever Virus and the patient acquired the infection before arriving in the country. There is no evidence of transmission to any other member of the public,” added Dr. Mailu.

Yellow Fever Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once contacted, it incubates in the body for three to six days followed by illness whose symptoms include fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, shivers, loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting. In severe cases, patients develop jaundice and bleeding.

Vaccination is the single most important measure for preventing Yellow Fever. In Kenya, vaccines are available at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the Kisumu International Airport, Mombasa International Airport, the Wilson Airport, Nairobi County Council and private hospitals at varying costs.