Kenya: Influenza Outbreak?

Kenyan health officials have issued an alert after samples taken from patients confirmed the presence of H1N1 prototype 9 influenza virus. Samples were taken from the patients suffering from flu in Laikipia County, central Kenya, Africa-review reports.

Kenya is among the few developing countries with elaborate national epidemio-surveillance networks for influenza. Influenza still remains a major cause of hospitalizations and deaths every year in Kenya

Influenza occurs in distinct outbreaks of varying extents every year in Kenya. The epidemiologic pattern reflects the changing nature of the antigenic properties of influenza viruses, and their subsequent spread depends upon multiple factors including transmissibility of the virus and susceptibility of the population – NIH (National Institutes of Health)

Mr Donald Mogoi, a chief officer in charge of health in the area, said a child is suspected to have died of the flu two weeks but the deadly virus was confirmed by the National Public Health Laboratories.

The five-year-old boy died at the Nanyuki Cottage Hospital and was being treated for pneumonia, his dad said.

Mrs Evelyn Obong’o, a clinical officer at the regional hospital, Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital, said Wednesday that her team is attending to at least 60 cases with 15 cases already admitted to the wards. Most of the patients are children, Cases of the flu have been on the rise in the last two weeks, she added.


Influenza Overview

Influenza is an infectious disease caused by a virus called influenza virus. symptoms typically begin two days after exposure to the virus and most last less than a week, the most common symptoms include,

  • high grade fever,
  • runny nose,
  • sore throat,
  • muscle pains,
  • headache,
  • coughing (may last for more than two weeks),
  • feeling tired,
  • nausea and vomiting in children.


Three types of influenza viruses affect people, called Type A, Type B, and Type C. Usually, the virus is spread through the air from coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching surfaces contaminated by the virus and then touching the mouth or eyes.

A person may be infectious to others both before and during the time they are showing symptoms. Frequent hand washing reduces the risk of viral spread.

The World Health Organization recommends yearly vaccinations against influenza for everyone 6 months and older, and those most at risk, the vaccine is effective against the 3 subtypes of influenza.

Antiviral drugs are also available and effective in disease management.



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