Lamu residents urged to visit hospitals for Chikungunya test

Photo of the Lamu County Hospital in Lamu town. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: The department of health in Lamu county has urged residents to visit health facilities to get tested for the Chikungunya virus in order to allow for prompt interventions.

Last week, Lamu recorded its first ever cases of the Chikungunya virus after four blood samples that had been sent to KEMRI turned out positive.

All the four cases were reported in Tchundwa village in Lamu East.

Speaking in Lamu on Monday, acting County Health Director David Mulewa said there is especially need for residents coming back to Lamu from counties where the virus was first reported like Mombasa and Kilifi to ensure they get tested just to rule out any possibility of them being infected with Chikungunya.

Mulewa said a lot of attention was being paid to those coming and leaving for Mombasa and Kilifi as it is highly probable that the cases reported in Lamu actually got infected elsewhere.

He asked residents to look out for the top Chikungunya symptoms that include but are not limited to high fevers and joint pains.

Mulewa also warned that there is a high probability that the infection rate of the virus could go up in the coming days.

“We are appealing to those coming from outside counties like Mombasa and Kilifi to visit a health facility and get tested first so we can ascertain they aren’t sick.Our key objective is for those infected to receive prompt medication.We are also working to curb the spread of this unpleasant illness and that’s why we are urging people to be alert and be able to tell the symptoms,” said Mulewa.

Currently, the county government of Lamu is running a mosquito net distribution exercise that targets all households in a bid to curb the illness.

So far, over 80,000 nets have been distributed to residents in Lamu East and West.

Health workers have also embarked on weekly campaigns to enlighten and educate people on Chikungunya and how to stay clear of the virus.