DAR ES SALAAM – The Tanzanian government on Tuesday confirmed an outbreak of dengue fever in Dar es Salaam, the country's economic capital, which has been blamed for the death of three people and for sickening over 400 others.
Assistant Health Minister Dr. Kebwe Stephen Kebwe told parliament in capital Dodoma that the deadly fever outbreak was unprecedented and that health officials had been caught by surprise – but that the government was doing what it could to contain it.
The virus was first reported in the Dar es Salaam region in late January. While the origin of the fever remains unclear, the government says it is spread by Aedes mosquitos, which are linked to high local temperatures and which only bite during the day.
Doctors say symptoms of the fever, for which there is currently no vaccine, include headaches, high temperatures, flu and sometimes bleeding from open parts of the body.
Kebwe has urged Dar es Salaam residents to be careful.
"If you experience these symptoms… please seek medical attention immediately," he said.
On Monday, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete directed the Health Ministry to distribute medical kits for screening dengue fever to health facilities around the country.
Cases of dengue fever, which has caused panic among Dar es Salaam residents, have also been reported recently in Mozambique and Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa.
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