Chikungunya outbreak hits Lamu county

feeding mosquito. PHOTO: COURTESY

Lamu, KENYA: The first ever cases of the dreaded Chikungunya virus have been reported in Lamu County.

Four people who tested positive for the Chikungunya virus are all from Tchundwa village in Lamu East.

Speaking on Wednesday, acting Chief Officer in the Department of Health David Mulewa said blood samples from residents who had shown similar symptoms that included joint pain and high fever were sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute-KEMRI earlier this month, four of which tested positive for the Chikungunya Virus.

“Samples were from more than ten individuals but only four tested positive for the virus.We are however doing the much we can to ensure the situation doesn’t escalate,” said Mulewa.

He said the Health Department had launched massive awareness campaigns all across the county to engage residents on how to avoid contracting the virus and how to minimize infections for those who live in places prone to mosquitoes.

Residents have in areas known to be notorious for mosquitoes like Tchundwa and Witu have also been asked to clear stagnant water from their residences since they serve as the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The Chikungunya outbreak has also been confirmed by the County Health Executive Raphael Munyua.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday, Munyua said the county had already embarked on immediate vector control measures that include spraying insecticides in all villages in the county.

He said the health office was also distributing mosquito nets to all residents in the county and urged residents to put them to good use.

“We have started spraying insecticides all over each village.This will happen in the whole county because it’s part of the vector control measures we are undertaking. We are also giving out mosquito nets for all.Those who don’t have should visit the nearest health facility for one.Chikungunya is spread by mosquitoes and the only way to stay clear is to avoid mosquito bites at all costs,” said Munyua.

Munyua appealed to residents to treat and remove stagnant water and also clear bushes close to their areas of residence.