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Wednesday, November 3, 2021 – Kenyans are now living in fear after a strange disease broke out in Tharaka Nithi County, claiming five lives in a matter of months.

According to information from health officials, the rare and strange disease known as Kala-Azar has so far infected 33 individuals over the last few months.

This has put the county on a high alert, taking necessary steps to contain the outbreak.

Kala-Azar, scientifically referred to as visceral leishmaniasis (VL), is characterized by irregular bouts of fever and anemia.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Kala-Azar is also characterised by weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver.

Most cases of the disease are reported in Brazil, East Africa, and India. 

As WHO states, it remains one of the top parasitic diseases with outbreak and mortality potential.

“In 2019, more than 90 per cent of new cases reported to WHO occurred in 10 countries: Brazil, Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan,” WHO states on its information desk.

The disease is caused by parasites and transmitted through the bites of infected female sand flies. 

The flies feed on blood to produce eggs.

The infection rates vary from person to person. People with HIV have a high chance of going full-blown once infested by the disease.

The disease is mainly attracted by poor hygienic conditions, malnutrition, and environmental changes.

However, the disease is treatable and curable once detected in its early stages.


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