• 200 people have been screened for kala-azar this year and 89 of them turned positive
• The households have been sprayed and 5, 500 mosquito nets distributed to the affected areas
Seven people have been confirmed dead following the outbreak of kala-azar in Marsabit county.
In March, 44 people from Log logo, Kor and Laisamis were admitted to the general hospital and they all tested positive for kala-azar.
Marsabit county health CEC Jama Wolde said 200 people have been screened for kala-azar this year and 89 of them turned positive.
Fifty-nine patients were treated and discharged while another 23 patients were admitted to Laisamis subcounty hospital and seven at Marsabit general hospital in stable condition.
The mosquito-borne disease is characterized by bouts of fever, headache, general malaise, loss of appetite and at advanced stages a patient may develop abdominal swelling. The disease is caused by a protozoan called Leishmania.
Wolde said the vector takes between one to three weeks to incubate.
He said the nomadic lifestyle of Marsabit residents makes them susceptible to attacks due to exposure to areas with high chances of infection.
He said the county government has mobilized resources in a bid to control spread of the disease.
So far, 200 households have been sprayed and 5, 500 mosquito nets distributed to the affected areas of Laisamis subcounty and public sensitize campaign is ongoing.
“We have also provided a basic understanding of the biology, epidemiology and clinical control tools of visceral leishmaniasis,” Wolde said.
He appealed to well wishers to join the county government effort and provide support.
The disease was first reported in the county in 2013. In February 2018, the government launched guidelines for the treatment of Kala-azar to help eradicate the disease by 2025.
The guidelines on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Kala-azar were aimed at reducing the level of exposure to seven million Kenyans at risk in six counties.