Malawi govt warns of dengue outbreak in Dar

Malawi government through the Ministry of Health is warning people travelling to Tanzania to exercise caution and practice prevention measures following reports of a dengue outbreak in Dar ‘es Salaam, a popular destination for shopping to thousands of business people from across the country.

Dengue, according to the ministry, is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary transmitter of dengue. The Dengue virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. After virus incubation for 4–10 days, an infected mosquito is capable of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life.

Henry Chimbali, Ministry of Health spokesman: Caution
Henry Chimbali, Ministry of Health spokesman: Caution

As of Tuesday, 2nd June 2014, a total of 1,089 cases and four deaths were reported and confirmed respectively in the districts Kinondoni, Temeke, and Ilala that are in Dar es Salaam.

“Infected humans are the main carriers and multipliers of the virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes.

“Patients who are already infected with the dengue virus can transmit the infection (for 4–5 days; maximum 12) via Aedes mosquitoes after their first symptoms appear,” says the statement issued by the ministry spokesman Henry Chimbali.

According to the ministry, dengue causes high fever and is accompanied by two of the following symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash.

Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito.

“As of now, there is no specific treatment for dengue fever and all people travelling to these are areas are requested to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by sleeping under mosquito nets,” reads further the statement.

The ministry says all health workers in the country and Port Health Officers have been put on alert with increased surveillance of potential cases.

The statement says based on the current information available for this outbreak, World Health Organisation (WHO), does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied tothe United Republic of Tanzania, both mainland and Zanzibar.

“The Ministry of Health is doing everything possible to prevent any dengue outbreak that may arise from the visits to this area and also within the country.”

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