UN releases drugs to help battle dengue fever outbreak in Kenya

29 September 2011

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has provided essential drugs to help treat an outbreak of dengue fever that has affected an estimated 1,000 people in the north-eastern Kenyan district of Mandera, which borders Ethiopia and Somalia.

There have been four unconfirmed deaths and some patients have been showing symptoms of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, a more severe form of the disease, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported in an update.

All neighbouring districts have been alerted and people advised to seek early medical attention if they become ill.

Meanwhile, anaemia prevalence among children under the age of five in the refugee camps in Kenya’s Dadaab area is above 40 per cent, according to OCHA. The camps host nearly 470,000 refugees, the majority of them from Somalia.

Three of six suspected cases of cholera in the Dadaab camps have been confirmed and all the patients arrived recently from Somalia. Some 82 per cent of the refugee population have received measles vaccination during a recent mass inoculation campaign.

An estimated 3.75 million people in Kenya have been experiencing food shortages a result of a prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa, and relief agencies are working with the Government to scale up distributions to the affected populations through one coordinated pipeline from October.

In August, the overall number of admissions to hospital of children with severe acute malnutrition declined from 6,379 to 5,560 cases, but an increase in admissions has been reported in the districts of Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot and Laikipia.

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