The Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile told the National Assembly here that so far the diagnostic kits have been distributed in public facilities in Dar es Salaam, Coast, Tanga and Dodoma regions.
”So far 1,901 patients have been diagnosed with dengue fever in Dar es Salaam,Tanga, Coast, Kilimanjaro and Singida regions,” he said.
When the current outbreak was first announced last month, 252 cases had been confirmed in Dar es Salaam and 55 other patients were admitted at health facilities in Tanga region.
On Thursday, the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Muhammad Kambi said in Dar es Salaam that cases of patients being diagnosed with dengue fever in Dar es Salaam region had increased by 50.8 per cent in one week.
The number jumped to 1,809 this week compared to 1,200 recorded in the previous week, Prof Kambi said in a press conference.
The increase, he said, is an average of 75 patients daily with Ilala District which occupies the entire central business district and key government ministries leading with 235 patients per day.
Considering the rate of the increase in cases, the Chief Medical Officer said the country has a long way to go in ensuring not only education on how to fight against dengue reaches people, but also the precautions being taken against it.
In March last year, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, confirmed the outbreak of dengue fever, saying 11 people had been diagnosed with the disease in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
The worst dengue outbreak in Tanzania was in 2014 when more than 400 patients in Dar es Salaam were diagnosed with the disease, which killed at least three, including a doctor who reportedly caught it while attending to patients.
Dengue fever is said to affect about 390 million people in the world every year, and is particularly prevalent on the East African coast.
Dengue fever which is transmitted by female mosquito Aedes aegypti which bites during day time causes severe headache along with muscle and joint pain. There is no formal treatment but rebuilding body resistances and enhanced immunity.
To avoid catching the disease, health experts recommend wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, treating clothes with repellents, and destroying breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit the dengue virus, by environmental cleanliness.
Patients are encouraged to report to hospital when they experience symptoms.