Suspected dengue fever outbreak hits Somalia

A suspected outbreak of dengue fever has hit the Somali capital of Mogadishu, medical workers said on Wednesday.

Abdi Ibrahim Jiya, a doctor in Mogadishu, said he believes the disease is dengue, but that doctors have been unable to confirm that because the lawless capital lacks the necessary laboratory equipment. He said the infection has been circulating in Mogadishu for three months.

Dr Nageye Ahmed, a Canada-based pediatrician who is visiting relatives, also said he believes the disease is dengue, and that it appears widespread in Mogadishu.

Symptoms include high fever, joint pain, headache and vomiting.

Four people have died of the fever, according to their relatives and doctors. Dengue is rarely fatal when properly treated.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, predominantly in urban and semi-urban areas.

A potentially lethal complication, dengue haemorrhagic fever, kills about 2,5% of those infected, but fatality rates can exceed 20% if victims do not receive proper treatment, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

There are four distinct, but closely related, viruses that cause dengue.
Recovery from infection by one provides lifelong immunity against that variant, but provides only partial and transient protection against subsequent infection by the other three, according to the WHO.—Sapa-AP

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