Watch out for Rift Valley Fever during El Nino, Kenyans told

Goats at a shed

By Peter Mwangi

Following the warning over a looming El Nino rains in the country, Kenyans have been urged to ensure that they live in clean environments free from mosquitoes and other diseases transmitting agents.

Consequently, Kenyans have been urged to remain vigilant and avoid consuming uninspected meat to avert contracting the deadly Rift Valley Fever.

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Kisa Juma Ngeiywa says the country has been put on notice over looming rains, and they should take necessary precautions to protect themselves. This includes refraining from slaughtering animals at home or consuming meat that has not been approved for consumption.

He said during such seasons, it is possible for animals to contract diseases that are spread by insects. To protect yourselves and your animals, the Chief Veterinary Officer advises Kenyans to seek proper information about diseases.

Ngeiywa, who is also the Director of Veterinary Services, noted that there was a need to make accurate diagnosis. He announced that the government is increasing the capacities of the existing government laboratories within Baringo, Nakuru, Karatina, Garisa, Mariakani in Mombasa, Witu in Ukambani, Eldoret and kericho.

Ngeiywa was speaking to the press at the Animal Health & Industry Training Institute in Nyandarua County moments before presiding over the 36th graduation ceremony for animal health technicians.

He called on Kenyans to report in time animals that shows symptoms of fevers and abortion adding that it is predicted that Rift Valley diseases will occur when there will be mosquitoes in water logged areas.

The Director of Veterinary Officer said the government will remain vigilant during this season that will run presumably up to January next year and emphasized the need to vaccinate before the onset of the long rains.

Rift Valley fever is an acute viral disease that can cause severe illness in domestic animals. The disease in is characterized by fever, severe illness, abortions, and a high morbidity and mortality rate.

Though it primarily affects animals, the disease also has a capacity to affect humans.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) human infections often result from direct or indirect contact with the blood or organs of infected animals. The virus can be transmitted to humans through the handling of animal tissue during slaughtering or butchering, assisting with animal births.

There is evidence to suggest that one can contract the disease from eating meat of animals that have been infected by the disease.

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