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Published On: Tue, Feb 19th, 2013

Northern Kenya reports dengue fever outbreak, leishmaniasis cases being investigated

The  Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), the humanitarian news and analysis service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports an outbreak of dengue fever in the Mandera District of Northern Kenya where some 300 people have been infected since January. 

Of the approximately 300 cases, three suspected deaths have been reported.

Phlebotomus papatasi sand fly Image/CDC

Phlebotomus papatasi sand fly
Image/CDC

Malaria has been ruled out from testing and testing for dengue will begin, according to the director of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.  Ian Njeru said, “We can’t term it as a big outbreak now.”

Health care in regions like this are often lacking as one nurse described to IRIN, citing a lack of medicines and fluids being available to manage dengue patients.

Dengue fever is caused by one of four different but related viruses. It is spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is found in tropic and subtropic regions.

In addition, IRIN reports that sources say cases of unconfirmed leishmaniasis are being seen in the noerthern Kenya district  of Wajir.

Despite government officials denying an outbreak of the parasitic cause of kala-azar, it is still being investigated.

“We are set to send a fact-finding team to Habaswein in Wajir because the report obtained by our office is not confirmed. We have also heard that a man has died, but our mission is going out there to follow up and get a credible report,” said Monique Wasunna, head of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) Africa.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of the female sandfly.

There are different forms of leishmaniasis.

  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis affects the skin and mucous membranes. Skin sores usually start at the site of the sandfly bite. In a few people, sores may develop on mucous membranes.
  • Systemic, or visceral, leishmaniasis affects the entire body. This form occurs 2 – 8 months after a person is bitten by the sandfly. Most people do not remember having a skin sore. This form can lead to deadly complications. The parasites damage the immune system by decreasing the numbers of disease-fighting cells.

Cases of leishmaniasis have been reported on all continents except Australia and Antarctica.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Northern Kenya reports dengue fever outbreak | Hope Against Dengue | Scoop.it says:

    […] #Dengue News: Northern Kenya reports dengue fever outbreak, leishmaniasis cases being… http://t.co/a1idngca  […]

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