Rift Valley Fever breaks out in Isiolo, Meru on high alert

In Summary

  • Isiolo Livestock chief officer says 25 samples tested positive for RVF
  • Meru Livestock chief officer says region is on high alert following the outbreak in Isiolo and is mulling a quarantine in the grazing areas.
  • Tharaka Nithi, Mandera , Lamu, Garissa, Kajiado and Baringo considered at risk of contracting the disease.

By Vivian Jebet and David Muchui

Isiolo veterinary department has closed all slaughterhouses and livestock markets for two weeks following an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever(RVF).

Following the outbreak, panic has gripped Isiolo and Meru counties with veterinary officers moving with speed to contain the disease.

The outbreak is suspected to have spread from the neighbouring Wajir County where it has killed six people, with 26 cases reported so far.

The disease has also hit Marsabit County.

Isiolo Livestock chief officer, Mr Benjamin Lopetet, has imposed a quarantine limiting movement of all livestock including sheep, goats, camels, sheep and their products.


Mr Lopetet said 106 samples collected from several areas in Isiolo’s three sub counties (Garbatulla, Merti and Isiolo) had been taken to government laboratory where 25 tested positive for RVF.

“We are still receiving more samples from the laboratory," said Mr Lopetet. Isiolo butchers’ association led by their chairman, Mr Salesio Kiambi, said they will comply with the directive but faulted the county government for allegedly withholding the information as they stare at losses.


Meru Livestock chief officer, Dr David Mugambi, said the region is on high alert following the outbreak in Isiolo and is mulling a quarantine in the grazing areas.

Herders who graze in areas neighbouring Isiolo County have been urged to use repellent acaricides to control mosquitoes that spread the disease.

"Meru County is classified as risky and since neighbouring counties are now affected. We discourage slaughtering of animals at home. Animals should be handled with gloves. We will ensure animals are vaccinated on time," Mr Mugambi said.

Mr Mugambi said three officers from the National RVF control centre were in the county to monitor the situation.

In Isiolo, the quarantine notice was copied to directors of veterinary services from Meru, Laikipia, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit and Garissa counties which regions at risk of contracting RVF from Isiolo because of livestock migration in search of water and pasture.

Herders have been warned against grazing livestock near public roads.

No person has contacted the disease in Isiolo.


RVF outbreak has also been reported in Tana River and Siaya counties.

At least six other counties have been identified as having the highest risk of an outbreak including Tharaka Nithi, Mandera , Lamu, Garissa, Kajiado and Baringo. According to Ministry of Health’s Disease Surveillance and Response Unit, at least 26 people have died from the disease.

Symptoms include fever, back pain, and generalised weakness at the onset of the illness.