Dengue fever in Qena

Reem Leila , Friday 21 Jul 2023

More than 260 residents of Al-Aliqat village in Qena governorate have been afflicted with Dengue fever.

Dengue fever in Qena
Authorities spray the village twice a day to control the spread of mosquitoes


Some are suffering from high fever, general fatigue, and pain in the joints, while others have been vomiting and are nauseous. Symptoms last from three to five days. 

Presidential Adviser for Health and Preventive Affairs Awad Taggedin confirmed the presence of Dengue fever in Al-Aliqat, attributing the outbreak to sluggish waters, whether sewage or fresh water, thus leading to the transmission of viruses through mosquitoes. “There is a dire need to eliminate these waters to prevent the spread of mosquitoes,” Taggedin said. 

Taggedin said mosquitoes transmit the disease from an infected person to another. “Symptoms are simple and can be treated with medication. There is no need for hospitalisation.”

According to Tageddin, Dengue fever is called “fever of unknown origin” until it is diagnosed. Dengue fever is a viral fever that is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. “The disease is transmitted via a type of Egyptian mosquito which has been present for a while, but what is new is the infection of citizens from this mosquito,” Tageddin added.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Population immediately dispatched convoys of preventive and therapeutic medicine along with that of epidemiological surveillance to take samples from patients, as well as environmental samples.

Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar said samples have been taken from sewage and potable water for tests. “The symptoms are not the same and vary in patients. Also, all symptoms range between mild and moderate, therefore not requiring hospitalisation,” Abdel-Ghaffar said, adding that symptoms disappear within five days at most.

Abdel-Ghaffar noted that the symptoms in patients were similar to many other common illnesses such as colds, influenza, gastroenteritis, and fever, which spread in conjunction with hot weather temperatures. “Symptoms subside when the patient rests, takes antipyretics, and drinks plenty of fluids,” Abdel-Ghaffar said.

Assistant Minister for Preventive Medicine Affairs Amr Qandil noted that the ministry’s convoys which comprise 50 medical vehicles as well as 100 medical staff will assess the patients’ medical status. “Symptoms which Al-Aliqat village residents are suffering from are transmitted by mosquitoes, therefore, residents are required to cover water containers to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Also, the ministry in cooperation with all concerned authorities will spray the village twice a day to control the spread of mosquitoes,” Qandil said.

At the same time, Qandil called on residents “not to panic; everything is under control,” saying the ministry’s convoys are still investigating. 

Dengue fever previously appeared in Egypt in 2017 affecting 224 residents in Qusseir city. Patients were hospitalised and released after being treated. 

The World Health Organisation previously issued a statement on Dengue symptoms which are fever and flu-like, lasting from two to seven days, and occurring four to 10 days after a mosquito bite. Common symptoms include high fever (40°C), accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms: headache, pain behind the eyes, nausea and vomiting, swollen glands, joint, bone or muscle pains, and a rash.

Dengue affects over 50-100 million people globally each year, primarily in tropical regions where approximately three billion people live.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 20 July, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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