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Dengue fever outbreak hits 153 in Mombasa

Sunday May 7 2017

At least 153 people have been affected by Dengue Fever in Mombasa. The fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At least 153 people have been affected by Dengue Fever in Mombasa. The fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WINNIE ATIENO
By WINNIE ATIENO
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At least 153 people have been affected by dengue fever outbreak in Mombasa, acting county health executive Binti Omara has said.

Health experts from both public and private hospitals were on Sunday deliberating on how to contain further spread of the fever.

According to Ms Omar, 119 cases have been reported in private hospitals while 34 have been recorded in public health facilities in the county.

She said surveillance has been intensified in all areas.

An internal memo from the county health department shows the outbreak has been reported in Kisauni, Jomvu, Changamwe, Nyali, Mvita and Likoni sub-counties.

“A total of 119 cases were confirmed by Rapid Diagnostic Tests kits in the major private hospitals — Aga Khan, Mombasa Hospital, Al Farouk, Jocham and Seyyid Fatima,” read the memo.

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FEMALE MOSQUITOES

However, Kisauni has the highest number of cases at 37, Mvita (25), the larger Changamwe which covers upto Jomvu (21) and 21 cases in Likoni.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spreads and is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.

According to World Health organization (WHO), the mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection.

Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanisation.

Severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and deaths among children. There is no specific treatment for dengue/severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates to below one per cent.

“We are meeting to respond effectively and in a coordinated approach to contain the outbreak. Normally during rainy season in Mombasa there is always an outbreak of Dengue Fever.

“So we were prepared for such eventualities and we have put up mechanism to contain it,” she said.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

Most common symptoms are a fever that lasts for two to seven days, headache, muscle and joints pain, a red rash that starts on the chest, back or stomach-ache spreading to the limbs and face, pain behind the eyes, vomiting and diarrhoea.

County Malaria Control Coordinator Fatuma Dume said the onset of rains which have hit the county has also led to an upsurge in cases of malaria.

She urged residents to sleep under treated mosquito nets and avoid self-medication whenever they fall ill.

“Public facilities in Jomvu have an increase of cases of malaria from lab tests,” she said.

Jomvu Kuu Ward Administrator Hezron Katana urged residents to join hands in the fight against malaria and keeping their environment clean, clear bushes and stagnant water to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

RENEWED EFFORTS

“Malaria treatment is costly to the government and the affected families…prevention is better than cure,” he said.

The Director of Health Shem Patta said from July, the county will distribute another round of treated mosquito nets targeting all families as part of renewed efforts in eradicating the disease.

He said county through the Department of Health will continue to provide free malaria treatment, providing treated mosquito nets and replacing them every three years.