Thursday, October 08, 2009

H1N1 Swine Flu Reported in Dadaab and Kakuma

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has activated its emergency preparedness plan for H1N1/A virus after 21 cases were confirmed in two refugee camps.

There have now been five confirmed swine flu cases in Kakuma camp, northwestern Kenya, as well as 16 cases in Hagadera, Dadaab — one of the world’s largest refugee camps, where overcrowding and lack of resources are already putting a strain on healthcare systems.

Effects of outbreak

IRC physician Gitau Mburu confirmed the cases and said in the congested refugee camps it is essential to strengthen surveillance, prevention and treatment measures to minimise effects of the outbreak.

"Most of those affected usually recover without antiviral treatment or specialised medical care, as they only experience mild illness," Dr Gitau said, adding none of the infections in Kakuma or Dadaab are life-threatening as many patients had recovered.

"With the current overcrowding in Dadaab and the potential for contagious diseases to spread, it is good practice to be prepared," he said.

As a precaution, IRC has secured doses of Tamiflu from UNHCR.