Mombasa issues alert over Dengue Fever outbreak after 150 cases diagnosed

Mombasa County Healthy Chief Officer Dr Khadija Shikely (left) said the disease has spread and affected all the six sub counties. (Photo: Maarufu Mohamed, Standard)
Mombasa County health officials have issued an alert over an outbreak of potentially fatal Dengue Fever after 150 cases were diagnosed with the mosquito-borne tropical disease in several health centers across the county.

The County Healthy Chief Officer Dr Khadija Shikely said the disease has spread and affected all the six sub counties with 119 cases confirmed in major private hospitals by Sunday.

The county officers say the disease has hit the county and other surrounding counties but denied any deaths, unlike in 2014 when three patients succumbed to the disease.

Health officials in the county have now enhanced health surveillance and precautionary measures against the disease. Dengue Fever is more prevalent in areas that are crowded and unhygienic.

SEE ALSO :County suspects virus outbreak after seven die

Heavy rains in the region are said to have created new breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which are the vectors transmitting the disease to humans.

"A total of 119 cases were confirmed by Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits in the major private hospitals, Aga Khan, Mombasa Hospital, Al Farouk, Jocham and Seyyid Fatima," she said.

She said that in total, 150 people have been taken ill with Kisauni reported to have the highest cases at 37 followed by Mvita which has reported 25 patients.

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Hospitals in Changamwe had by Friday last week also confirmed 21 cases and a similar number in Likoni.

Medical experts say there is no vaccine against the disease that has similar symptoms as malaria.

SEE ALSO :Dengue fever test confirms outbreak

Symptoms of the disease include severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash.

For sever cases, patients also experience intense stomach pain, frequent vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums or the patient's blood pressure may go very low such that the blood is unable to circulate.

The disease was first detected in Mombasa in 2013 by medical research experts from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Kilifi.

On Friday, Dr Shikely said the county convened an emergency meeting of all the county health officers to come up with measures to mitigate the effects of the disease and contain its spread.

"We need to respond effectively and in a coordinated approach to contain this outbreak," said Dr Shikely in a memo to all county health departmental heads.

SEE ALSO :Dengue fever hits parts of Baringo county

The World Health Organization WHO estimates that 40 per cent of the world's population lives in areas prone to this disease and up to 100 million people get infected annually.

Out of these, about 500,000 are asymptomatic or show significant symptoms of the disease while about 22,000 die from the illness each year.

Medical officers have urged people in Mombasa to sleep under mosquito nets and during the day wear clothes that cover their entire body or use mosquito repellents.

They also recommend regular screening of the disease at least three times a year. After a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes between one and two weeks for symptoms to develop.

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Dengue FevermosquitoKhadija Shikely