Panic in Migori as strange killer STI hits goldmines

Locals say the disease nicknamed 'Jakadala' kills patients in days, although no deaths have been reported.
Locals say the disease nicknamed 'Jakadala' kills patients in days, although no deaths have been reported.

A new sexually transmitted infection nicknamed ‘Jakadala’ has broken out in Migori.

It kills patients in less than a week, residents say even though no death from it has been reported.

The fear was fuelled by reports that about five patients are being treated for the disease. Medics have moved in to know more about the disease.

“There is a lot of talk about the disease called Jakadala, which, according to rumours, has terrible signs. Already, a surveillance team is out to ascertain facts,” Health executive Isca Oluoch said on Monday.

“What we currently know is that the disease has been named after a popular musician. What we have are rumours, but we are not taking chances.”

The surveillance team has focussed on a private hospital in Awendo subcounty where two patients reported their conditions.

“We called the administrator of the hospital and the clinical officer and they were not positive. Our team will start from there,” Oluoch said.

She said the rumour started in Awendo’s Nyarombo gold mines. There has been a gold rush in the area. Other suspected areas are

Komito mines in Rongo subcounty and the gold mining areas of Kuria, Suna and Nyatike. The gold belt region has high STI and HIV-Aids prevalence because of prostitution.

Oluoch said the rumours spread after a patient suffering from penile cancer was admitted to the Migori County Referral Hospital.

“The case we have in the referral hospital is not an STI. The patient has been suffering for the past five years. This is not part of the rumours we get that a patient can succumb to Jakadala,” Oluoch said.

The county government is on high alert and plans are underway to have the national government and other partners intervene.

According to the latest government data on HIV prevalence, Migori is at 13.3 per cent. Oluoch urged residents to adopt healthy lifestyle and practice safe sex.