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Kenya/Tanzania: EAC plans joint action to contain Rift Valley Fever

As fear of the Rift Valley Fever (RVF) grips Tanzania and Kenya, the East African Community is taking action to check further spread of the deadly disease.

Deputy EAC Secretary General, Dr Kipyego Cheluget, said the disease was spreading fast in the region, and should be contained with immediate effect.

In view of that health and agricultural experts within the East African Community (EAC) were expected to hold a brainstorming meeting on how to contain the Rift RVF.

Cheluget told reporters that since the outbreak of the disease in Kenya late December, more than 150 people had died, and thousands of livestock had also perished.

In Tanzania three people have so far died of what has been confirmed as RVF.

The planned special meeting would converge ministers responsible for health and livestock from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi - the five EAC partner states.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that that results of specimens taken from five people suspected to have died of RVF in Tanga and Manyara regions and diagnosed by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Nairobi, Kenya, showed that three of them died of the disease.

The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Professor David Mwakyusa, told the 'Daily News' that samples were taken to Nairobi last Saturday.

Samples from a person, who died in Tanga, and two in Babati, Manyara Region, proved positive. The remaining two from Kiteto proved negative.

Prof. Mwakyusa said that efforts were under way to import reagents so that diagnosis of samples of RVF and other killer diseases would be carried out at the Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences since it has the required equipment.

The Director of Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL), Mr Sachin Das, said that further 30 samples out of over 250 collected from cattle, goats and sheep in Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Tanga regions by experts, received at the CVL on Monday would be sent to South Africa for diagnosis.