Health ministry deploys experts in Mombasa to study dengue strain

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 20:28 |
Chief Officer of Public Health Pauline Oginga.

A specialised team of experts from the Ministry of Health has been deployed in Mombasa county to investigate a new variant  of dengue fever.

Chief Officer of Public Health Pauline Oginga said the experts arrived in Mombasa on Tuesday and have been joined by the County surveillance team and public health officers to conduct studies that will help them understand the type of the mosquito causing the disease.

“The team is going to collect the mosquitoes, identify their breeding sites  and understand why the environments favour them.

In the next 10 days, we shall give an update on the findings of the research,” she said during the launch of mass distribution of mosquito nets at Bogobogoni in Kibarani.

Collecting samples 

The announcement comes even as it emerged that the mosquito causing the new variant is characteristically unusual from the known dengue mosquito, which normally spreads the virus towards the end of the rainy season.

“Characteristically, the dengue mosquito normally comes towards the end of the rainy season, but we have realised that this current mosquito came even before the start of the rains.

So the experts have visited hotspots collecting samples for genome sequencing in the lab to get a clear understanding of the virus,” she said. 

 According to Oginga, the denguefever causing mosquito bites during the day. Last month, health officials in the County warned over the dengue fever outbreak and  directed all their health officials in sub-counties to initiate “targeted preventive and control measures.”

A  communique signed by County Director of Public Health Dr Salma Swaleh addressed to all sub-county Medical Officers of Health in Mombasa indicated that out of 47 random blood samples collected from patients suspected of suffering from dengue fever, 26 tested positive for dengue fever representing 55 per cent positivity rate.

The cases were distributed as follows; Kisauni (6), Changamwe and Jomvu (7) each, Nyali (4) and Likoni (2).

However, the cases could be more because Mvita sub-county did not submit samples for testing and records from the health department indicate Mvita has the highest burden of the viral disease as per previous trend and Rapid diagnostic Test (RdT) data.

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