Kenya on Monday issued an alert for a possible outbreak of the deadly Rift Valley Fever, following prolonged rains. According to a joint statement from the ministry of ministries of health and agriculture, 17 counties including Nairobi and Mombasa face the risk of an outbreak, following heavy rainfall in the past three months.
The last major outbreak was in 2006/2007, after the end of the El Nino rains that resulted in approximately 160 human deaths and up to 4 billion Shillings in losses ($40 million) in the livestock sector.
Herders, slaughterhouse workers, farmers, and veterinarians have been placed on high alert as the livestock infection could affect human beings if they get into contact with blood or tissues from infected animals, the statement issued in Nairobi noted.
The ministries cautioned against the slaughter, butchering and consumption of sick animals or dead livestock.
The virus was first reported in 1931 in Kenya among sheep on a farm in Rift Valley. Since then, outbreaks have been reported in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The disease is prevalent during and after heavy rainfall as floods and stagnant waters provide suitable breeding grounds for different species of mosquitoes that spread the disease to other mosquitoes, animals and humans.