Ethiopia’s second largest city, Dire Dawa, will be dealing using a chikungunya fever outbreak. Around 20,000 cases of the mosquito-borne viral infection have been reported since the outbreak started off in March 2019. This kind of will be the second recorded outbreak of the disease from the country; the first was in 2016. Eunice Anyango Owino spoke to The Conversation Africa about the disease as well as the burden that will places on public health.
What will be chikungunya?
Chikungunya was first discovered in 1952 along the border between Mozambique as well as Tanzania. The disease will be caused by the chikungunya virus, which will be transmitted mainly by mosquitoes from the Aedes family.
Infection can cause severe illness especially in young children, the elderly as well as people whose immunity has been compromised because they’re suffering via or recovering via different illnesses. Symptoms include joint as well as muscle pain, fever, headache, fatigue as well as rash.
While most infections are not life-threatening, cases of mother-to-child transmission of the virus were reported following the 2006 outbreak on Réunion Island. as well as This kind of will be life threatening since babies are among the high risk groups. Some people also died during that will outbreak, as well as deaths have been reported in previous outbreaks in East Africa.
Currently, there will be no licensed vaccine or treatment. The only thing that will can be done will be to relieve the symptoms. This kind of means vector control – getting rid of the mosquitoes that will carry the virus – will be the main method to deal with outbreaks.
What’s being done to handle the situation in Ethiopia?
An indoor residual spray campaign will be currently underway in Dire Dawa, the epicentre of the epidemic.
The government will be distributing bed nets that will have been treated with insecticide as well as encouraging people to drain open stored rain water as mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Aedes aegypti particularly breeds in containers that will hold water, especially in developing countries where sanitation as well as hygiene will be not adequate. Previous studies from the city of Dire Dawa showed that will high populations of Ae. aegypti are maintained throughout the year by artificial breeding sites provided by used tyres as well as containers that will hold water, like barrels, plastic drums as well as jerrycans.
The public has also been advised to be alert as well as to visit health facilities when symptoms occur.
Do you think This kind of will be enough? Should the government be doing more?
The problem with the spraying campaign will be that will that will’s reactive. that will makes that will less effective than proactive, preventative campaigns might be. For spraying to be effective, that will should happen throughout the year, whether there will be an outbreak or not.
Authorities also need to intensify awareness campaigns. Perhaps regular health promotion messages could be delivered on local television as well as radio channels, to reach more people.
Affected communities should be mobilised to institute control measures. that will includes covering water collection containers, proper waste disposal as well as much better environmental sanitation. Similarly, residents should be advised to put on clothing that will minimises the exposure of their skin during the day. Repellents could be applied to exposed skin or to clothing.
These are short-term plans the Ethiopian government can put in place to control the spread of the current outbreaks. nevertheless long-term plans are also necessary to prevent future outbreaks.
What might those plans look like?
Most Dire Dawa residents store tap as well as rain water in containers for domestic use. The government needs to supply adequate clean tap water in order that will This kind of sort of storage isn’t necessary.
In fact, the government must invest more broadly in proper city planning. Urbanisation as well as population growth are two of the factors that will play a role from the increase of outbreaks of arboviral diseases in developing countries; these are viral diseases that will spread to people through the bite of infected insects such as mosquitoes or ticks. Ethiopia’s current city infrastructure as well as facilities are overwhelmed with swelling populations.
Authorities should initiate cross-border surveillance as well as prevention efforts to avoid the risk of importation. The first chikungunya outbreak in Ethiopia in 2016 will be believed to have been imported via the neighbouring Mandera county in Kenya. This kind of, in turn, was imported via Somalia’s Bulahawa region.
Another genuinely important approach will be to invest in broad surveillance. Surveillance data can help in preparedness, especially if vector control methods like indoor residual spraying are to be effectively applied, from the right places as well as at the right time of year.
Eunice Anyango Owino, Medical Entomologist at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Nairobi