The Ministry of Health has confirmed an increase in malaria cases in Uasin Gishu County but said there was no cause for alarm.
The ministry’s department of disease surveillance and response yesterday said “appropriate response to mitigate the issue has already begun,” as it advised people to report any suspected cases of malaria.
This is after 100 people were treated for the mosquito-borne disease in the past one month in Uasin Gishu County, raising fears of an outbreak.
“We started seeing an increase of people admitted with malaria last month, but we may not really know what caused it,” said Dr Philip Muthoka of the department of disease surveillance and response.
He said the increase in malaria cases has been reported only in Turbo sub-county. “Other counties are below the alert line, so there is no cause for alarm. Between March 6 and March 27, 112 cases have been reported from Turbo alone,” Dr Muthoka added.
He did not assertively say what may have caused the surge, noting that it could be a combination of factors, including greater awareness by people and “an increase in malaria-causing mosquitoes”.
Although the surveillance department had received the malaria report, Dr Waqo Ejersa, who heads the National Malaria Control Programme, said they were yet to get formal communication about it.
“We are likely to see an extraordinary increase in numbers as a result of the rainy season,” said Dr Ejersa.
Of particular interest, he said, are pregnant women and young children who should be treated immediately.
About 100 people have been treated at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. The hospital’s chief executive, Wilson Aruasa, says the number of infections could rise because of the rains pounding the region.
Meanwhile, the Uasin Gishu county government yesterday sent a specialised team to Turbo to contain the suspected outbreak.
Seventy cases have been reported in Turbo alone, the most affected sub-county.
The team will focus on Tapsagoi ward, which was reported to have been hardest hit.
County health administrator Alexander Korir yesterday said one of the foremost measures to prevent spread of the disease is through internal residue spray on the walls of every homestead in Tapsagoi. The spray lasts up to six months.