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Gov't warns of fatal disease outbreak in these 3 counties

Precautions necessary as citizens travel for the holidays

Medics attending to patients in a Kenyan hospital

The outbreak has affected three counties in the Rift Valley region which have also been hit by a shortage of medication to treat the condition.

Officials from the counties - West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo - have conveyed that emergency measures are in place to help manage the outbreak.

"The disease is dangerous. The rate at which it is spreading is alarming. We have partnered with the national government and there is a need to screen more people and vaccinate them," West Pokot Health Executive Geoffrey Lipale explained.

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Hepatitis B Vaccination

In Elgeyo Marakwet, Governor Alex Tolgos clarified that the disease had not reached epidemic levels but residents will be vaccinated to prevent further spread.

"We received 4,000 doses, which we have administered free of charge to people in the affected areas. So far, we have vaccinated 5,000 residents across the four sub-counties which have had casualties.

"We have also vaccinated 1,900 of our health staff because some of them become casualties of this disease in the course of duty," the governor explained.

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Hepatitis B affects the liver and can be fatal if left untreated for six months. It has also been known to cause liver failure and even cancer.

The disease spreads through contact with infected blood or bloody fluids, according to the World Health organization.

Baringo county has 49,000 cases of the disease with 49 casualties since 2013.

Baringo Chief Public Health Officer Winnie Bore stated: "We have procured more than 19,000 doses from the national government, which will be enough for more than 10,000 people. We have also put enough drugs in the hotspots so that patients don't have to travel to the county referral hospitals.”

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