Yellow fever virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Due to the historical occurrence of yellow fever in Kenya, the country continues to be classified internationally as a high-risk country for yellow fever transmission.
The disease is transmitted by two types of mosquitoes, one of which is responsible for the Zika virus. Yellow fever virus is transmitted when a mosquito (Aedes mosquito) bites an infected monkey and then bites a human being. The incubation period is 3-6 days after a bite from the infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. It can be easily confused for malaria or other mosquito-borne illness. When transmitted to human beings yellow fever virus can damage the liver and other internal organs and be potentially fatal.
People cannot spread yellow fever among themselves through casual contact although the infection can be transmitted directly into the blood through contaminated needles. Vaccination is the most important measure against yellow fever. Travelers should get vaccinated for yellow fever before visiting areas where yellow fever is found. Yellow fever is endemic in tropical areas of Africa. If you continue to travel or live in yellow fever endemic areas, you should receive a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine after 10 years.
According to WHO, good and early supportive treatment in hospitals improves survival rate. There is currently no specific anti-viral drug for yellow fever but specific care to treat dehydration, liver and kidney failure and fever improves outcomes. Associated bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics.
For purposes of international travel, the yellow fever vaccine must be approved by the WHO and administered by an approved yellow fever vaccination center. International regulations for travel to and from certain countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination. People who get vaccinated should be given an international certificate of vaccination (yellow card).
Yellow fever vaccination can only be given at designated centers. For a center to become a designated yellow fever vaccination center it must register with the appropriate authority. In Kenya, the immunization schedule is given by the division of vaccines and immunizations in The Ministry of Health commonly known as KEPI.
Four districts in Kenya are at high risk of yellow fever i.e. Baringo, Keiyo, Koibatek, and Marakwet. Yellow fever vaccination is routinely administered to children at 9 months of age in these high-risk counties (Elgeyo Marakwet & Baringo counties) as part of EPI (Expanded Programme on Immunization).
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