WHO stresses need to maintain dengue fever surveillance activities in Ethiopia

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ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed the crucial need to maintain and sustain dengue fever surveillance activities in Ethiopia.

The WHO, in its periodic bulletin on outbreaks and other emergencies on the African continent issued late Tuesday, said since early April this year, Ethiopia has been grappling with a dengue fever outbreak which was initially reported in the Logia and Mille districts within the Afar region and has now spread into three more regions.

The WHO data showed that since May 10, when 1,638 cases and nine deaths had been reported with a case fatality rate of 0.5 percent, a sharp increase in cases has been noted with more than 8,500 new cases, resulting in a weekly average of 407 cases.

According to the WHO, the peak of the outbreak was observed during early July, followed by a decline in cases in subsequent weeks, reaching less than 50 cases. Although the current trend for dengue fever is declining, it is crucial to maintain and sustain surveillance activities.

The WHO warned that the ongoing dengue fever outbreak in Ethiopia is one of several concurrent outbreaks that the East African country is facing, including cholera, COVID-19, malaria, and measles. The humanitarian crisis, including the internal displacement of the population due to insecurity, is exacerbating the public health challenges in the country.

The WHO also warned that the current climate change led by the El Nino phenomenon could extend the transmission period of major vector-borne diseases including dengue fever.

The WHO said capacity-building activities, particularly on case management and surveillance activities, are continuously provided for health workers and health officials, adding vector breeding site identification and control measures, including the application of chemicals, are being conducted in all affected districts within the Afar, Dire Dawa, Oromia and Somali regions. Enditem

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