Kenya allays fears of spread of dengue fever   2013-03-26 18:21:53            

NAIROBI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said on Tuesday there was no cause for alarm following an outbreak of dengue viral disease in the East African nation's costal region in the past two days.

Public health director in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Shahnaz Sheriff confirmed that two cases have tested positive but assured the country that health experts have been deployed to tackle the spread of fever to more regions.

"There is no cause for alarm. Everything has been contained to curb the spread of the viral. Only two cases tested positive from the results which have so far been carried out by health experts," Sheriff told Xinhua by telephone.

His remark's come as eight people with symptoms of dengue fever have been admitted to a hospital in the coastal city of Mombasa.

The coast regional director of Public Health and Sanitation said the blood samples from eight patients admitted at the Mombasa Hospital have been flown to South Africa for further analysis.

Mombasa is the East African nation's second biggest city and is popular with tourists both locally and internationally. The health officials have assured the public that the situation is under control.

Sheriff said the blood specimen taken from two patients who had been hosptialised tested positive for dengue fever after laboratory analysis conducted at the Center of Communicable Disease Control (CDC) in Nairobi.

"The two patients are out of danger and people should not panic about the outbreak of the viral disease. Measures have been put in place to prevent its spread to other regions," Sheriff said.

He said the surveillance would also be intensified in all 23 districts in the region with samples being collected daily and taken to the Nairobi based facility for analysis.

Dengue fever was last reported in northern Kenya in 2011, in Mandera town, bordering Somalia and Ethiopia.

The disease, associated with large population movements, was at the time traced to African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops stationed in the war-torn country, and who frequented the Kenya border.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease, whose symptoms are similar to those of malaria, is now present in 125 countries and was in 2012 ranked as the world's fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, with an estimated 6,000 deaths annually.

The UN health agency says there is no specific treatment for dengue but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers the risk.

Editor: Yang Lina
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