As the Rift Valley fever grips Kenya, at least 75 people have died and another 183 infected since the disease was first reported in November 2006. More than 500 livestock have so far died from the disease and the outbreak has forced the closure of livestock markets in the North Eastern Province.
The disease has greatly affected the economy of the region, which is entirely dependent on livestock. Of late, the government has initiated a vaccination campaign to inoculate more than two million cattle, goats, sheep and camels in the affected areas over the next three weeks. "It would take more than a month to determine the safety of animal products in the area even when the disease is brought under control," said Joseph Musaa, the director of veterinary services.
Experts blame the outbreak on the relentless rains in recent months, causing floods and creating breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito, which spread the virus of Rift Valley fever from infected livestock to humans. The North Eastern Province, inhabited by nomadic pastoralists, was hit by devastating floods over the last three months of 2006. The disease was first identified in Kenya in 1931. One of its first symptoms is spontaneous abortions in sheep, goats and cattle.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.