, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Kenya has recorded six new cases of the H1N1 Influenza virus commonly known as Swine Flu this week.
Head of Respiratory and Infectious Diseases at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Dr Anderson Irimu said on Friday that five of the patients presented themselves to the hospital after developing flu-like symptoms and the other one was diagnosed while on a routine screening for seasonal influenza.
“We are now talking of about 25 patients in Kenya who have tested positive to the H1N1 influenza virus,” he told Capital News.
Dr Irimu said that all the six new patients who were young adults had no history of travel and were now on Tamiflu medication. Three of them are from Chogoria in Meru.
“This means that the transmission is occurring everywhere and that’s why it is called a pandemic,” he said.
“The dangers are patients who are not aware that they could be having the H1N1 are likely to infect others so we want everybody to know that once you have the symptoms of flu which is fever, muscle ache, running nose, sore throat, you need to self isolate,” Dr Irimu added.
He however said that all the cases were mild and there was no danger involved.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there were 134,503 reported cases of the H1N1 influenza virus and 816 deaths worldwide as of July 27.
The WHO website however stated that since countries were no longer required to test and report individual cases the figures understated the real number of cases.
The first cases of the H1N1 influenza virus commonly known as swine flu that involved Kenyans were reported early last month.
This came after a United Kingdom student who was among 33 other British students tested positive to the flu. He and his colleagues were quarantined for six days in a Kisumu hotel.
The new strain of H1N1 Influenza virus is believed to be caused by a mutated H5N1 strain virus subtype, which also causes bird flu.
The new form contains DNA sequences from human and avian influenza viruses, as well as from other strains of swine influenza.
The new strain, which is transmitted from human to human, has not circulated previously in humans. The virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another and from one country to another.
In mid June, the WHO raised the Pandemic alert status from phase 5 to phase 6, which meant that the disease had reached the emergency level.
Young people under the age of 25 years are the main casualties in all the countries.
A similar outbreak occurred in 1918 but was more severe than the current epidemic but the WHO warned that this may change hence the need for more vigilance.