Influenza

On Monday, just before CS Rotich’s arrest stole the national airwaves, the ministry of health reported that a Kenyan had died of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) at the Nairobi Hospital, while three others who were in contact with him remained admitted.

The deceased, who together with his mother and other acquaintances had just arrived from a seven-day trip to Watamu, succumbed to the illness on Friday while undergoing treatment.

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Samples collected and analyzed indicated the presence of a virus type A/H3N2, commonly referred to as Influenza or the Flu virus, and not (type A/H1N1) or Swine flu that was found.

But while the Ministry says that the three who were admitted with the deceased are now responding well to treatment, it is important to understand a few facts about the influenza virus.

The influenza virus which mostly peaks up during the cold season is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing, sneezing or coming into contact with infected persons or objects.

The virus typically starts with a stuffy nose which is then followed by fever with abrupt onset, chills, a sore throat and in worse cases; patients have reported chest pains and even diarrhea or vomiting.

However, complications from this condition have been known to include; worsening of underlying chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma, bacterial pneumonia, hypertension, and even neurological problems.

A research carried out by the Center for decease control noted that these level of complications would mainly occur among Children under the age of five, pregnant women, adults over the age of sixty-five or individuals with weak immune systems.

Vaccination, frequent hand washing, and avoiding contact with infected persons is an easy way of preventing the virus. People are being advised to avoid crowded enclosed places and to also practice cough etiquette. To learn more about Influenza, click here.

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