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Disease outbreak hits Congo capital

June 20, 2011 at 8:22 PM   |   Comments

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, June 20 (UPI) -- Health officials in the Congo have reported an outbreak of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease similar to dengue fever, in parts of the capital Brazzaville.

The country's Director General of Health, Alexis Elira Dokekias, said more than 900 people have been confirmed infected with the viral disease, AfricaNews reported Monday. No deaths have been reported in the outbreak, initially thought to be malaria, but health authorities have warned of elevated risks of an outbreak of dengue fever, an infection transmitted by mosquito vectors.

Infected people have displayed symptoms ranging from fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain and headache to nausea, fatigue and a rash. In the majority of cases, patients recover completely, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months or even years, health officials said.

The government is embarking on a massive mosquito-eradication campaign in the affected districts of Brazzaville, Dokekias said -- featuring efforts to teach vulnerable people prevention methods including pest control and sanitation of the environment.

Chikungunya occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. A number of African countries -- including Mali, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Cape Verde and Gabon -- have seen outbreaks of the disease.

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