Dengue fever in Dar es Salaam

Government allocates funds to combat dengue outbreak

The Tanzanian government has allocated emergency funds to combat the outbreak of dengue fever in Dar es Salaam, where the mosquito-borne tropical disease has caused several deaths and infected over 400 people.

The announcement was made in parliament by the deputy health minister Kebwe Stephen Kebwe who said that testing on mosquitoes was being undertaken in the Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni districts of Dar es Salaam.

Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains as well as a skin rash similar to measles. The virus affects babies, children and adults, with symptoms appearing between three days and two weeks after the infective bite. The virus is carried by mosquitoes and cannot be transmitted directly person-to-person.

Kebwe said there are three forms of the disease: dengue febrile illness which affects over 90 per cent of patients diagnosed in Tanzania; dengue shock syndrome which results in dangerously low blood pressure; and dengue haemorrhagic fever, the most severe form, which has been diagnosed in at least one patient in Dar es Salaam.

He advised local residents to stay away from areas of stagnant water, where mosquitoes breed, advising the public to spray anti-mosquito pesticides, clear bushes, cover sewage pits, clean house chimneys and fill up puddles of water, as well as to wear long dresses or robes, and use mosquito-treated bed nets.

There is no known cure or vaccine against the disease and only the symptoms can be treated.