Dengue in Kenya
|Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel|
|Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions|
|Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions|
Released: May 17, 2013
What is the current situation?
An outbreak of dengue in Mombasa, Kenya, has been reported by the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MOPHS). Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya and is a major shipping port and tourist destination. This is the first identified dengue outbreak in Mombasa since 1982.
MOPHS, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Walter Reed Project, and CDC are working together to reduce the mosquito population in the area, educate health care workers and community members about the disease, and monitor the area for more dengue cases.
What is dengue?
Dengue is an illness caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, and pain in the eyes, joints, and muscles. Symptoms can take up to 2 weeks to develop after you are bitten by an infected mosquito but usually end in a week. In severe cases, symptoms may include intense stomach pain, repeated vomiting, and bleeding from the nose or gums. See a doctor right away if you have these symptoms.
Travelers who go to tropical and subtropical regions are at risk of getting dengue. These areas include parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America, Western Pacific Islands, Australia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Dengue is more common in urban areas and is not usually seen at altitudes above 4,500 feet (1,500 meters). The mosquito that carries the dengue virus bites both day and night and is commonly found indoors as well as outdoors.
How can travelers protect themselves?
There is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent dengue. Travelers can protect themselves from dengue by preventing mosquito bites.
Prevent mosquito bites
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent as directed (click here for more info)
- Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Use products with the following active ingredients.
- Products containing DEET include Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and Icaridin)
- Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the United States])
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
- Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals
- Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart
- Always use insect repellent as directed.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
- Reapply as directed.
- Follow package directions for using repellent on children.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
- Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
Early and proper diagnosis of dengue is important, as many other diseases may mimic dengue. Health care providers should consider dengue, malaria, chikungunya, and leptospirosis, depending on the itinerary and exposure, in the differential diagnosis of patients who have fever and a history of travel to tropical areas during the 2 weeks before symptom onset.
See the Clinical & Laboratory Guidance on the CDC dengue website for information about reporting dengue cases and guidance regarding dengue diagnostic testing. A serum sample should be obtained as early after the onset of fever as possible for dengue diagnostic testing. Molecular testing for DENV and immunodiagnostic testing for IgM anti-DENV should be ordered and can be obtained from commercial reference laboratories and a number of state or territorial health department laboratories. Consultation regarding management of suspect dengue cases or diagnostic testing can be obtained from:
CDC Dengue Branch
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
1324 Calle Cañada
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00920-3860
Telephone: 787-706-2399; fax, 787-706-2496