Not all flu is swine flu, Nanyuki residents told

Symptoms of influenza, with fever and cough the most common symptoms.PHOTO/COURTESY
Symptoms of influenza, with fever and cough the most common symptoms.PHOTO/COURTESY

Hundreds of scared people convinced they have swine flu are flocking Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital in panic, fearing they may have been infected.

Laikipia acting Health chief officer Donald Mogoi yesterday said the facility receives more than 300 people with symptoms of A1 H1N1 in a day.

Reports came out last week that there was an outbreak of the disease in Nanyuki town and its environs.

“Many residents panicked when reports indicated that there was an outbreak. People across all ages are flocking the hospital,” Dr Mogoi said.

He called for calm, adding that the county has controlled the disease. A majority of patients are treated and discharged. “Not everyone who is coming for treatment has the symptoms of the flu. Majority are coming because of the scare,” he said.

Last week, the officer said two patients tested positive for the flu after samples were taken to National Public Health Laboratories for analysis. They have been treated and have recovered.

By the time of the outbreak, the facility was attending to about 60 patients on a daily basis, Mogoi said.

He urged residents to visit health facilities in case they develop symptoms such as red eyes, dry cough, sore throat, fever and general body weakness. Three weeks ago, a six-year-old boy succumbed to the flu at Nanyuki Cottage Hospital. The boy was admitted for three days but the temperatures could not go down, prompting his parents to transfer him to Memorial Defence Hospital in Nairobi. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

The disease could kill if patients are not attended to immediately.

The majority of those who contract the deadly flu are children, the elderly and anyone with compromised immunity.

The disease affects lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing and eventually death. It is spread through air or body contact. Public Health officers have been visiting schools and other social gatherings to enlighten the masses on observing coughing etiquette and general body hygiene.