Kenya: dengue epidemic surpasses 500 cases in eastern counties
By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In one monitoring the dengue epidemic in Kenya, 553 cases were reported in the last 4 months of January, February, March and April, with a peak of cases reported in April in two counties on the east coast of Kenya.
According to the Mombasa County Health Department, the first cases of dengue were reported in early March 2021 with 24 out of 47 cases testing positive (51% positivity rate). In April, 305 other cases tested positive out of 315 (positivity rate of 97%). Adjacent Lamu County has also reported a total of 224 positive cases from different health facilities where 59 are children under the age of 5.
No deaths have been reported to date in the two counties.
Mombasa County health officials have warned of the dengue outbreak and ordered all sub-county health officials to take “targeted prevention and control measures.”
Public health officials warn more cases are expected to be expected as the seasonal “ long rains ” extend into late May, increasing mosquito populations. The scenario is that if this spread of dengue is not dealt with urgently, it will spread to adjacent counties.
The trend is hardly a reflection of the real situation in the counties since people who suffer from the milder form of the disease do not seek medical attention.
The Kenya Meteorological Department is also forecasting normal to above rainfall along Kenya’s coastal counties for the long rains from April to June, which will increase the vector population and, in turn, an increase in new cases. A new variant of dengue is also of concern.
Dengue fever is a viral infection that causes a wide range of illnesses, from subclinical disease (where the person may not have symptoms) to the development of hemorrhagic fever.
Female mosquitoes, mainly Aedes aegypti, spread the disease, for which there are four subtypes. These mosquitoes are also vectors of the Chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. Dengue fever is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, and rapid unplanned urbanization.
Dengue fever causes a wide range of signs and symptoms. According to the WHO, these can range from subclinical illness (people may not know they are even infected) to severe flu symptoms in those infected. Although less common, some people develop severe dengue, which can be a number of complications associated with severe bleeding, organ damage and / or plasma leakage. Severe dengue has a higher risk of death when not managed properly.