Mystery illness kills nine, leaves 80 ill in Kenya

Source: africanews

At least nine people have died, and over 80 others are seriously ill in Kargi Location, Marsabit County, following an outbreak of an unknown disease.

Moses Galoro, the senior chief of the area has appealed for an urgent intervention to prevent further fatalities.

Preliminary tests indicated the possibility of a violent malaria outbreak, according to local media reports.

According to Chief Galoro, six adults, and three children aged between one and three years have died from the disease.

The affected persons had a travel history out of Marsabit County, having come from satellite camps in Archers Post and Merille areas. Out of the 27 patients screened, only five tested positive for malaria.

Symptoms exhibited by most of the affected persons include flu-like symptoms, yellow eyes, and severe headaches. However, the latest victim, who died at Kargi Health Centre, exhibited flu-like symptoms, swollen spleen, severe headache, and yellowish eyes, which is similar to Kalazar.

Medics however say visceral leishmaniasis – also known as kala-azar disease – cannot be ruled out.

Visceral leishmaniasis is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anaemia. It can be fatal if left untreated in over 95% of cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The disease was first reported two weeks ago and has continued to cause havoc in the region. Urgent virology tests and mass screening of residents have been called for by Chief Galoro to establish the exact cause of the deaths and to avert further fatalities.

The outbreak comes two months after the Kenya Medical Research Institute detected an invasive mosquito species in Laisamis and Saku areas of Marsabit county.

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