Monday,27 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)
Monday,27 May, 2019
Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Fever panic

Dengue fever reportedly appeared in some Red Sea and Upper Egypt cities, reports Reem Leila


Fever panic
Fever panic

The Ministry of Health and Population has denied reports that Dengue fever had appeared in the Red Sea city of Qusseir and the Upper Egypt governorate of Qena. According to a press release on 1 October, patients who were hospitalised on 30 September suffered from normal fever to headaches and muscle pain unrelated to the mosquito-borne disease.

It was reported that Dengue fever had broken out in Qusseir and Qena. The reports said more than 1,200 people had become infected and that a 63-year-old man who was suffering health complications had died.

Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed denied the reports, stating the number of Dengue fever cases was “very limited” and without deaths. He added there were only 10 cases found in Hurghada, the Red Sea tourist city.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. The symptoms of the disease manifest from three to 14 days after infection. Victims develop fevers, headaches, general body aches and abdominal pain with occasional vomiting and diarrhea.  

Megahed said the ministry had sent a team to Qusseir and Qena and discovered that 80 per cent of water tanks were uncovered or covered with tinplate lids which erode over time and lead to the growth of Dengue fever carriers such as larvae of mosquitoes. “There were larva mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti — and adult mosquitoes at the sites of uncovered tanks which are considered infected areas. Consequently, immediate measures for Dengue fever were taken to quickly quash the disease,” Megahed said.

“The ministry has succeeded in eliminating 75 per cent of Dengue mosquitos,” added Megahed.

Yehia Seddik, head of the Red Sea Drinking Water and Sanitation Company, said the company took samples from the water for analysis as rumours surged that the disease emerged from uncovered water tanks. “Sample results revealed that the water was free of any infections,” Seddik said.

According to Seddik, further measures have been taken to stem the disease which included disinfection and sterilisation of reservoirs.

On Monday, MP of the constituency of Qusseir Ahmed Mohamed sent an urgent letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal and the cabinet complaining about “negligence to confront the disease”.

This came during the first session of parliament’s third legislative term scheduled to begin in October after not convening for three months. Mohamed noted in his complaint that the families of the city were the victims of negligence in not being provided proper health services that would protect them from the infection. “The fever’s first emergence was in Awaina and Anbaji in Qusseir city,” he added.

Student attendance in the governorate had recently decreased significantly due to the sudden rise of body temperatures of patients which raised concerns they were infected with the disease, according to media reports.

Head of the Directorate of Education in the Red Sea Noura Fadel said attendance in Qusseir schools in all stages had dropped to 27 per cent while absences rose to 72 per cent. “Qusseir schools in the Red Sea witnessed the highest number of student absences on Sunday after hundreds of people in the city became infected with Dengue fever,” Fadel said.

Megahed noted that Dengue fever is not transmitted from one person to another through contact, touching or saliva, but rather by a direct bite from a carrier mosquito to a person. “According to the World Health Organisation, the disease is present in more than 100 countries and is not likely to cause death,” he added.

Assiut governorate was infected with Aedes aegypti in October 2015 but all the patients had recovered.

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