A virus of unknown origin is spreading over a secluded island and the authorities have issued a warning. Only four weeks have passed since the first instances were recorded, but more than one hundred of them have prompted a warning from health experts.
The officials in charge of public health in the African nation of Sao Tomé and Principe are struggling to contain a dengue fever epidemic, which is the very first of its kind to occur in the country.
In only one month, between mid-April and 17th May, the World Health Organization (WHO) received reports of more than 100 cases, however it is quite probable that this number is an underestimate.
However, a response strategy has been developed, and epidemiological examinations are now being carried out in a number of health districts around the country.
Dengue fever is a severe sickness that might be likened to the flu and is caused by a viral infection that is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the risk to the nation as “high” due to the presence of conditions that are ideal for the breeding of mosquitoes as well as inadequate sanitation and water management systems in health care facilities as a result of the heavy rains and floods that have occurred since December of the previous year.
This epidemic is occurring at the same time as others, including that of diarrheal illness, malaria, and Covid-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in their evaluation that “the reported numbers are likely an underestimate since a substantial percentage of dengue infections are asymptomatic.”
“Risk communication initiatives in the nation are lacking, which contributes to the country’s low level of community awareness.”
In spite of this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the overall risk on both a regional and global scale is “low.”
“The chance of further spread from So Tomé and Principe to other nations is improbable since the country is an island and does not share land borders with any other countries. In addition, it would need the existence of vectors that may be susceptible to the disease.”
On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that health clinics on the more remote islands of Sao Tome and Principe should be informed about the epidemic and given access to Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) so that they may identify potential cases. Fever, headache, and myagia are some of the most common symptoms.
According to the World Health Organization, the level of danger to the national population is high.
A laboratory in Lisbon received thirty samples in the last month, all of which had been verified by fast diagnostic testing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that “further laboratory testing verified that the samples were positive for early acute dengue infection,” and that the prevalent serotype was dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3).
“Based on the first findings, it seems that there may be other serotypes present within the batch of samples.”
The Rio Grande health area accounted for ninety percent of the cases that were recorded, and those between the ages of 30 and 39 were afflicted by it more often than any other age group.
Adults between the ages of 50 and 59 made up the second most impacted group, followed by youngsters between the ages of 10 and 19 years old.
An incident on April 11 in which a patient at a hospital in Sao Tome and Principe was suspected of having dengue fever was the first event that set off the epidemic.
The individual had symptoms that were consistent with dengue fever and provided a travel history.
After further investigation, it was determined that they had previously suffered from dengue fever.
103 instances have been verified in So Tomé and Principe, but it is believed that there may be more.