Chikungunya Outbreak Sweeps Dire Dawa City in Ethiopia

By Staff Reporter

ChikungunyaAugust 16, 2019 ( -- An outbreak of Chikungunya disease has swept Dire Dawa city in easern Ethiopia. Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.

The city's health bureau disclosed that about 4000 cases of Chikungunya disease have so far been reported in the city, mainly in Dechatu district.

The chikungunya virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease, which is common in Tanzania and Mozambique, was first reported in Ethiopia in 2016 at Keberidhar and Dolo Ado towns, near Kenya and Somalia borders.

The disease was also reported in March this year in the Afar Regional State of Ethiopia. The latest outbreak has infected many more people than last time, when just 10 people were reported infected.

The most common symptoms of this disease are fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. Signs and symptoms of Chikungunya exhibit between four and ten days after infection, when the virus enters the blood stream.

The disease is easily curable but can cause death if it is not treated immediately, said Dr. Fuad Kedir, Dire Dawa City Health Bureau Head. No death has been reported since the outbreak occured late last week. "We are offering patients symptomatic treatment in a bid to stop their illnesses. There is no medicine for the viral disease," he told journalists on Thursday.

This latest outbreak of Chikungunya began late last week. and the health bureau advised residents of the city to use mosquito bed nets to prevent the spread of the disease and clean swampy areas where mosquitos breed.

The virus is spread to humans by the bite of infected female Aedes species mosquitoes Aedes Albopictus and Aedes Aegypti, which inhabit low land areas. These are the same tropical and sub-tropical mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus.

Humans and other primates are the natural hosts for the chikungunya virus and the disease is more prevalent in deseret areas along the equator. Reports indicate that about 2.5 million people living in this area are vulnerable.

The city administration is engaged in awareness raising activities about the disease and advising people to drain water bodies besides spraying chemicals in affected areas.

"Given that the disease is new to the city, we are advising the publc to be alert and go to nearby health center when the symptoms occur," Fuad said.

Fuad caution the public to remain alert as the mosquitoes can appear both during the day and at night time.

More than 179,000 insecticide-treated bed nets were distributed to prevent the disease, Dr Fuad told journalists.



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