Maputo — There have been 30 confirmed cases of dengue fever in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado since the current outbreak began in late March, according to the National Director of Health, Francisco Mbofana, cited in Monday's issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”.
There have been no deaths from the disease so far, and the health authorities regard the situation as under control. They are, however, recommending preventive measures against the mosquito that carries the disease.
Unlike malaria which is transmitted by a single-celled animal known as a plasmodium, injected into humans through the bite of an infected anopheles mosquito, dengue is a viral disease carried by several species of the aedes genus of mosquito.
Last Thursday, the Cabo Delgado provincial governor, Abdul Razak Noormohamed, met with community and religious leaders in the provincial capital, Pemba, to alert them to the threat of the disease and the need for preventive measures.
He warned that, unlike the anopheles mosquito which breeds in stagnant, dirty pools, the aedes mosquito species reproduce in clean water.
In visits to several Pemba neighbourhoods, health brigades have detected the dengue virus in containers of otherwise clean water.
The Mozambican authorities are also strengthening precautionary measures against ebola, following an outbreak in Guinea-Conakry in which at least 61 people have died since January. The disease has also spread into Liberia, and there are suspected cases in Sierra Leone. Ebola is a haemorragic fever for which there is no cure. The fatality rate is around 90 per cent.
Although Mozambique is a long way from Guinea and Liberia, the authorities have decided to tighten up controls at airports, ports and terrestrial borders in efforts to ensure that the disease does not enter Mozambique.
Mbofana said that the Health Ministry is also strengthening bio-security measures in all Mozambican health units.