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How Kenya can Manage its Increasing Dengue Fever Cases

A public health alert for 150 dengue fever cases has been issued in Mombasa, Kenya. The Conversation Africa’s Health and Medicine Editor Joy Wanja Muraya spoke to Dr Andrew Githeko on the effective management of this disease whose spread is encouraged by water storage trends.

What causes dengue fever and what type of human behaviour favours its breeding?

Dengue fever, which is a mosquito-borne viral infection, is transmitted by two species of mosquito:

  • It’s transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti which breeds in water containers in urban areas; and

  • Aedes albopictus, also called the Asian tiger mosquito, which prefers to lay its eggs in stagnant water in rural areas.

In 2016 there were about 390 million cases reported in the Pacific region, South East Asia and South America.

The first dengue outbreak in Kenya was reported in 1982 in the coastal region. In April to June 2013 and March to June 2014 outbreaks coincided with the long rain seasons that created a conducive breeding ground for the dengue mosquitoes.

Dominic Chavez/World Bank

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