An epidemic of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, which began in early June in Congo’s capital Brazzaville, has spread to the neighbouring Pool region, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Between 1 and 23 June, there were 7,014 cases in Brazzaville and 460 in Pool, but no deaths, according to WHO. In Pool, which endured a series of civil wars between 1998 and 2003, damaging the local health infrastructure, only the towns of Goma Tse Tse and Kinkala, the regional capital, are affected.
In Brazzaville, the disease is concentrated in southern districts, including Makélékélé and Bacongo.
The disease's symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash, and are similar to those of dengue fever. There is no known cure; treatment consists of relieving the symptoms.
"Today we find that Chikungunya is a problem for the city," Alexis Elira Dokekias, director-general of health, told IRIN. "There are patients who complain of Chikungunya symptoms, but do not show up in hospitals. These are hard to track... What is encouraging is the fact that we have not seen any deaths. Patients who show up are treated properly because the drugs are available.”
Health Ministry specialists have identified the aegypti and albopictus mosquito species as being responsible for the outbreak. Chikungunya was first confirmed after an analysis of samples by the Franceville laboratory in Gabon.
To counter the disease, the authorities are urging people to clean up possible breeding sites such as old containers, tyres or empty cans.
The spraying of insecticides to kill the mosquitoes would begin "next week", said Dokekias.
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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions