The County Government of Baringo has embarked on a vaccination drive as the number of people with Hepatitis B raises concerns. About 70,000 people have Hepatitis B in Baringo county. About 10 people are said to have lost their lives to the disease.
County health director Dr Kipsang Marach says the vaccination program is targeting 10,000 people in three sub counties with rampart cases including Mogotio, Baringo South and parts of Baringo North.
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“The county is conducting massive vaccination of Hepatitis B after a big population tested positive,” said Marach.
The two who succumbed to the disease died from Hepatitis B related complications. They did not get vaccinated following the nurses strike that saw most facilities in the region close down.
At least 70 patients from Mogotio Sub County among them children are said to have missed the full Hepatitis B vaccine. Another 180 have defaulted.
He attributed the high number of defaulters to the prolonged nurses strike as most health centres and dispensaries remained closed. The strike, which took 5 long months has since ended.
According to Marach, tests will be conducted alongside the vaccination program so that those who have the disease can get the required treatment.
“Hepatitis B is rampant in parts of Loboi and Sandai but with the vaccination program, we expect to test and vaccinate more people to prevent infection of the disease,” Marach said.
“Routine vaccination of Hepatitis B is being conducted in all health centers and dispensaries as a measure to contain the killer disease,” he said.
Hepatitis B is a viral disease spread through contact with body fluids of an infected person including blood.
Pregnant women who have Hepatitis B can pass the virus to their children during birth.
Sexual transmission can occur. Men who have sex with men, people with multiple sexual partners as well as sex workers are more vulnerable to the virus.
The virus can also spread through reuse of needles and syringes. You can be exposed to the virus during medical, surgical as well as dental procedures. WHO also warns that one can get exposed through tattooing. Simply put, contaminated blood will put you in harms way.
- Mild fever
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Pain in the joints
- General body weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
Hepatitis B can either be acute (short lived) or it can be chronic which means it stays in the body longer.
When it gets to the chronic stage, it can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.