State confirms outbreak of dengue fever in Mandera

By Peter Orengo

The Government has announced that there is an outbreak of dengue fever in Mandera East District, North Eastern Province, with four unconfirmed deaths.

Dengue fever is a disease spread by mosquitoes. The outbreak, which has affected more than 1,000 people, was confirmed by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) after carrying tests at the Center for Disease Control laboratories last week.

Director of Public Health and Sanitation Dr Sharif Shahnaz said 16 of the 22 cases tested were positive for the dreaded dengue fever.

"On September 22, prior to the confirmation of the outbreak, the ministry had received a report from Mandera surveillance team regarding an unusually high number of patients visiting hospitals," said Dr Shahnaz.

They had high body temperature, severe headache, vomiting, with a few bleeding from the nose, mouth and other body openings.

Shahnaz said the number of those affected had been progressing but most had been treated in local health facilities and released.

"Health officials are conducting investigations to determine the actual magnitude of the problem," said Shahnaz.

According to WHO, "Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes a severe flu-like illness, and sometimes a potentially lethal complication called dengue hemorrhagic fever."

The virus is transmitted from one person to another through the bite of mosquitoes and the "attack rate is very high but mortality is very low.

Dr Shahnaz said the Government was taking necessary measures to identify all affected cases in time to give appropriate medical care.

Health officials said residents had been complaining of mosquito bites during the day.