School in Nairobi reports 20 cases of Swine Flu
By Elizabeth Mwai
A school in Nairobi has been put on quarantine following the confirmation of 20 cases of H1N1 fever (swine flu).
Kenya High School is the latest addition to the growing list of places reporting the virus that has caused global panic, amid fears that the flu could mutate to fatal stage.
The Public Health Minister Beth Mugo yesterday said they had received the results of the cases on Tuesday and isolated the 20 affected students within the institution.
"We want to assure the public everything is under control, and there is no cause for alarm," said Mugo.
The minister told The Standard they were recommending that the students remain in school where the disease could be better managed instead of moving them to hospital where they could spread it to others.
Mrs Mugo said the students, who had contracted the disease, had not reported any complications to warrant alarm among parents.
The minister said they had isolated students who have special conditions like asthma, which made them more susceptible to the virus.
Mugo said they had dispatched health officials led by the Director of Public Health Shahnaaz Sharif to ensure measures were in place to treat the students and ensure Swine Flu does not spread.
Mugo added no Kenyan had succumbed to the flu in the country, so Kenyans ought not to worry as health officials were keeping a close eye on the disease. So far, Mugo said, there have been 159 cases reported and all have been treated successfully.
Dr Sharif said the ministry could not confirm how the Kenya High School infections came about although it was suspected one student might have contracted the flu during the holidays and infected others.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned the flu virus has had a long history as it was first reported in 1918 having killed millions.
WHO Country Director David Okello told The Standard the virus had begun in a similar way.
That is why Okello had said the world governments are investing heavily in the development of a vaccine.
He said the reference to the flu as pandemic was not because of its severity but because of its geographical spread.
A new Swine Flu vaccine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration agency.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the US Congress they were making steps to start mass vaccinations.
WHO this month said the vaccine would be ready for distribution to Governments later this month.
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