19 people in Kutulo sub-county, Mandera county, Kenya have been infected with Kala-azar, the world’s second-largest parasitic killer after malaria.
Speaking with newsmen, Mandera County’s Ministry of Health CEC Dr. Mohamud Eda said “It is true we have got Kala-azar in Mandera county, specifically Kutulo sub-county which borders Wajir county, which for a long time has been the epicenter of Kala-azar.”
Dr. Mohamud also expressed concern at the rate at which the cases of the disease spread by sandfly bites are surging in the area.
“We are currently setting up a rapid response team whose role is to set up kala-azar treatment center, carry out training of staff on various treatment modalities, as well as educating the public on prevention. We are also providing nets to residents of the entire Kutulo sub county as we destroying known habitats of the sandflies,” he added.
Infected patients are currently receiving treatment at the Wajir County Referral Hospital.
Some of the symptoms of the disease are fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anemia.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the parasitic infection is fatal if left untreated in over 95% of cases. The WHO recommends putting on clothes that cover the entire body and spraying sleeping areas with insecticides to control sandflies. It also advises residents in affected areas to avoid walking outside at night when the flies are most active.
The disease is most common in America, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and Central Asia.