FAO in Kenya

Kenya intensifies Rift Valley Fever alertness

FAO Representative to Kenya Dr. Tobias Takavarasha 'shakes hands' with Dr. Charles Ochodo, Senior Deputy Director of Veterinary Services during the handover of the PPE kits.. ©FAO/Lydia Limbe

Increased surveillance to avert potential outbreak

9 July 2020: Nairobi, Kenya – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations today has handed over personal protective (PPE) kits to the Director of Veterinary Services (DVS) in readiness for Rift Valley Fever (RVF) early detection.

This is part of the support from FAO to Enhance Syndromic Surveillance (ESS) for Rift Valley Fever, leading to early detection of suspected outbreaks. The PPE kits include Coveralls, Boot covers, Goggles, Respirators (FFP2), Respirators (FFP3), Long Inner gloves, Long Outer gloves, Lab coats and Exam gloves.

We continue to partner with the Department of Veterinary Services, with whom we recognise the important role it plays in ensuring optimum animal health in Kenya, as well as the overall contribution of livestock to the economy,’ said Dr. Tobias Takavarasha during the handover.

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a viral zoonotic disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause severe symptoms in animals and humans. The disease can result in death and abortion in RVF-infected livestock. This epizootic disease in animals, which spills over to the human population, tends to develop extremely rapidly following abnormally high seasonal rainfall at the local, national or regional scale.

According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, the outlook for July 2020 indicates that counties in the Lake Victoria Basin Region, Highlands West of the Rift Valley, North, Central and Southern Rift Valley, northern coastal strip as well as the North-western parts of the country are likely to experience near-average to above-average rainfall (enhanced rainfall).

The latest FAO RVF forecasting in May 2020 confirms that the risk of RVF occurrence in the region remains high both in animals and humans in the next coming months, either due to favorable environmental conditions and/or through animal movement.

‘On behalf of the state department for livestock we are excited to receive these personal Protective kits. 90% of disease control programs is the responsibility of the counties and that is where the PPEs will be distributed. The counties go out to discover the diseases before they become big problems as diseases know no boundaries,’ said Dr. Charles Ochodo, Senior Deputy Director of Veterinary Services while receiving the kits.

RVF outbreak is a threat to food security.

A Rift Valley Fever outbreak threatens to disrupt communities depending on animal trade by affecting local animal markets, as well as reducing the direct household income, which further affects their capacities to access health care and child education.

The Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU) with support from FAO implemented ESS for RVF from December 2019 to June 2020, in 660 households distributed across seven RVF high-risk counties namely: Wajir, Kajiado, Murang’a, Tana River, Siaya, Baringo and Kilifi. In addition, FAO supplied ELISA testing kits to facilitate screening for RVF.

A weekly analysis of ESS reports have enabled the government to identify and flag out Tana River, Kajiado and Wajir as counties that need further investigations due to high proportions of human-RVF like illnesses. In response, the Government of Kenya has established a multisector mechanism for coordinated response to zoonotic disease outbreaks in the sectors of human and animal health. 

Increased RVF surveillance and preparedness in Kenya was made possible through the USAID funded Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to address Zoonotic Diseases and Animal Health in Africa. 

Related links:

IGAD and FAO join forces against Rift Valley Fever [LINK]

Twitter: @FAOKenya @FAOAnimalHealth @FAOawelfare @FAOafeeding

Press Contacts:

 Lydia Limbe

Communication Consultant,

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +254723994730