As if the recent conquest of Somalia by the incredibly oppressive and brutal African Taliban and liberation from them by Ethiopian forces working in tandem with American trainers wasn’t enough misery for a country, now Spero News reports that Rift Valley Fever, a dangerous bleeding disease, appears to be spreading from Kenya to the Lower Juba Region of Somalia.
Fighting in southern Somalia has hampered efforts to confirm a possible spread of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) from neighbouring Kenya to the Lower Juba Region where seven people have died after showing symptoms of the rare, contagious haemorrhagic disease, Somali health officials said.
The deaths were reported in Dobley, 18 km north of the Kenyan border, in the last five days. “The dead are mainly nomadic herders,” said Hassan Mursal, a clinical officer in nearby Afmadow hospital. “The number could be higher but because of the current insecurity in the area there is no way of getting the full picture.”
Mahamud Haji Hassan Jabra, an epidemiologist with the European Union-funded Somali Animal Health Service Project, said numerous reports of animal abortions – a key indicator of the disease – had been received from the area. But plans to send two teams to verify the outbreak would only go ahead once the security situation allowed.
“Our focal point in the area has reported the clinical signs of the disease but we need to confirm this by testing the samples collected,” he said. “If it turns out to be RVF it will have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of the pastoralists, who have suffered two years of drought followed by heavy flooding.”