One succumbs as swine flu cases soar in Nakuru county
One person has died following an outbreak of Swine Flu in Nakuru county where a total of 143 cases have so far been reported, health officials said yesterday.
In a statement, Nakuru County Acting Chief Officer for Public Health Services, Daniel Wainaina said all the cases have been reported at Kiptangwany Health Centre in Gilgil adding that majority of the patients are children below five years.
Of the 143 cases, Wainaina 127 of them are children below five years, representing 88.8 per cent of the confirmed cases.
He said 135 patients have been treated and discharged while seven are still hospitalized.
The outbreak were reported through alerts sent to the Nakuru County Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (PHEOC) following an increase in the number of patients presenting cough, fever, joint paints and general body weakness, he said.
He said that samples tested at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) on July 27 returned positive results for the seasonal Influenza A (subtype H1N1) which causes common cold/flu symptoms.
“The variant detected in Nakuru is not the one that causes influenza in animals,” said Wainaina.
He clarified the variant detected in Nakuru is not the same as Swine Flu although they belong to the same family.
“It is a highly infectious respiratory tract infection commonly responsible for the upper tract infection but occasionally causes severe lower respiratory disease particularly among very young children,” he said.
He said that the elderly, pregnant mothers and people with underlying medical conditions were also vulnerable to the virus detected in Nakuru county.
“The Influenza virus is transmitted through cough/droplets and contact with contaminated services and objects,” he stated.
The common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, running nose, headache, chills, and fatigue, he said.
“The disease can be prevented through hand washing, avoiding close contact with infected persons, cough etiquette and vaccination against influenza for the people at high risk of severe disease,” the official said.
Consequently, the county administration has urged locals to exercise high level of hand hygiene, regular disinfection of surfaces and objects that can easily be contaminated.