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Swine flu kills 3 children as cases hit 270 in county

By Mercy Kahenda | May 18th 2020

At least three children have died of swine flu disease in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County.

The victims, between the ages of five and eight, are reported to have had fever, dry cough, running nose and headache.

Kiptagwany health centre in charge Veronicah Muthoni said the children were not taken to hospital on time.

She noted that two of the children had heart problems and other health complications that might have contributed to their deaths.

“The three died at home as it was assumed they were suffering from normal flu that affects minors,” said Muthoni. 

Health reports indicate that outbreak of the disease was reported in February and spilled over to March and April.

A total of 270 cases of swine flu have been reported from February 10, to date.

Ms Muthoni said the hospital was promoted to conduct swine flu tests following high cases of children who presented flu symptoms.

She said a team of doctors from county department of health was dispatched to the area to conduct tests and monitor the disease.

Out of seven samples taken in February, at least five tested positive for swine flu.

“Most children were traced to their homes because of an upsurge in numbers at the facility. Some were brought to hospital for admission and treatment,” she said.

Public health chief officer Samuel King’ori said to avoid spread of the disease, the county opened an inpatient ward at Kiptangwany Health Centre.

Mr King’ori noted that four intern nurses and three clinicians were deployed to the facility.

“Referrals for swine flu is discouraged because it might cause more contamination, and infect more people. This is why the 32-bed capacity ward was opened to handle affected children,” said King’ori.

He added that the cases have been contained, with only two or four reported daily.

Initially, at least 30 children were treated at the hospital every day.

“We are happy that the number of cases reported have gone down, though monitoring is ongoing for further action,” said King’ori.

He noted that swine flu is reported during the dry season. The disease is caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory track.

Low immunity

The disease is transmitted through inhalation and ingestion of droplets from an infected person.

Symptoms of the disease include coughing, body ache, fever, running nose, sore throat, headache and fatigue.

In severe cases, patients develop diarrhoea, vomiting, and later die.

“We are encouraging parents to take their children to hospital whenever they develop fever, headache and cough for tests and treatment,” said King’ori.

He added that the county was planning to conduct more tests and vaccinate children against flu.

“Medics are establishing disease burden in Kuresoi for more action,” he said.

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