Health workers in Kenya on high alert after Yellow Fever death

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Health workers in Kenya were placed on high alert Wednesday for yellow fever, after a Kenyan who has been living in Angola died at the country’s largest refferal hospital Kenyatta National Hospital.

Up to 250 people have died from yellow fever in Angola since late December 2015 when the first case was detected.

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has also asked its citizens to be on the lookout for any unusual symptoms of diseases and report cases to the nearest health facility.

According to a statement from the ministry, the patient, a 31-year-old man, had travelled to Angola, which is dealing with a yellow fever outbreak and where he contracted the disease.

“He had been unwell for four days before arriving in the country and presented to a private health facility in Eastleigh with fever, joint pains, blood stained stool and vomitus on the day of arrival,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu in a statement.

The CS said that when a medic at a clinic in the capital Nairobi’s Eastleigh area suspected that the patient had haemorrhagic fever, the man was transferred to KNH, where he later developed confusion and renal and liver failure.

“Laboratory investigations conducted at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) tested positive for Yellow Fever antibodies and negative for Ebola and Marburg,” added Dr Mailu.

The man died later as a result of multiple-organ failure.

As a result, Dr Mailu said the ministry had “stepped up surveillance, preparedness and response measures to secure Kenya from the Yellow Fever Virus.”

“This has been necessitated by the index case and the continuing outbreak in Angola.”

Kenya is classified as a low-risk country for yellow fever infection, with the last outbreak having occurred in 1992.

“However, we remain cognisant of the risks posed through importation of cases from travellers, as this case demonstrates,” said Dr Mailu.

He added: “There is currently no evidence of local transmission of the virus and the patient acquired the infection before arriving into the country.”

Kenya’s Acting Director of Medical Services Dr Jackson Kioko said health workers at all the airports and other entry points had been placed on high alert to thoroughly screen all passengers arriving from Angola and other countries with yellow fever history.

“We are not taking any chances, and that is why we have advised health workers at the airports and other areas to thoroughly screen passengers and take travel history of anyone from Angola and other countries listed as having an active outbreak by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” he said.