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It started with an itchy throat, a dry cough then fever

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March 13 will remain forever be etched in Wanga Bress’s mind. Her husband came home from work with some bad news. Some people at his workplace had been diagnosed with Covid-19, including his immediate boss who he had interacted closely with.

Through the ministry of health in Germany, they were put on quarantine, to not leave the house unless necessary. It is then that reality hit her.

The news that cases of coronavirus were rising in Germany had been spreading, but she never imagined it would hit her home.  Then her husband started getting coughs. They were not too worried about it since he always gets allergies during winter. They went for a test and returned home with instructions to keep monitoring their temperatures three times each day.The next day, the bad news came.

“He was on phone with the hospital where he had taken the test. l stood across him, looking at him and trying to pick every word they said. I saw how his facial expression changed to that of horror. I knew the results were not good. Then he confirmed to me that he had tested positive to Covid-19. He had it,” says Bress.

Persistant cough

What followed, she says, was a whirlwind of emotions. Her husband was panicking, giving a list of all people he had interacted with so that they could be tracked and tested.

“I started cleaning and disinfecting everywhere in the house. I took care of him. Our living room has good space, so we ensured there was always a two-metre distance between us,” says the resident of Schmallenberg town in North Rhine-Westphalia State .The other symptoms of Covid-19 began in earnest a few days after his diagnosis. His cough persisted, he would get fatigued and his temperature kept rising.

Bress says at that time, she felt it was important for her to take care of him.“I would give him soup and tea at different intervals. One evening l thought of my mum and how she would cover us with a blanket over a bucket of hot water steaming Muarubaini or Vicks to decongest our nostrils or chest. I decided to apply the same treatment to my husband. I used my facial steamer and added in a little bit of Vicks Vaporub. It worked well. He loved it. That night he slept well,” she says.

It is also the same night that Wanga says her temperature started rising and she started feeling sick.

“I had an itchy throat, dry cough, headache and fever,” she says. The next day, her symptoms got worse. She was now shivering and her temperature kept rising. She started getting anxious, since they were the same symptoms she had seen in her husband, and read on news to be what patients of Covid-19 get.

Deserted streets

“I would take asprin, but I was not getting any better,” she says.

She was called in for a test, one she says is extremely uncomfortable.

“Taking a coronavirus test is not pleasant at all. A swab stick is pushed so deep in the throat. I almost threw up. Then the same swab is pushed in one of the nostril,” she says, describing the moment as scary.

The streets of Germany are deserted, and only people with security clearance are allowed in hospitals. The air around is eerily quiet. Patients go in unaccompanied, and unlike the past where sick people go for tests held by their loved ones to assure them that things will get better, coronavirus means going in all alone.

She was not given any medication, as there is none yet. She was told to continue being on quarantine and manage her symptoms. As of Wednesday, she was beginning to feel better and her temperature was getting lower, a sign that her body’s immunity was fighting the virus.

“The condition spreads so fast from one person to another. We were told to only treat the symptoms as they come,” she says.

She records her symptoms every day and ensures she keeps away from her two children who have not shown any symptoms yet. Her experience has awakened her to the fact that coronavirus is real, and it takes just a few interactions to get it.

By Standard


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Health

Comedian Flaqo opens up on rare condition he has been battling

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Popular Kenyan comedian, Flaqo born Erastus Ayieko Otieno has for the first time spoken about a rare condition that he has been struggling with for some time.

Turns out that despite the funny man the Kenyan audience and beyond has grown to know as Flaqo Raz, he has his fair share of battles behind the cameras.

Flaqo opens up

The Internet sensation shared a photo showing red, itchy welts like a form of skin reaction on certain parts of his body.

Depending on the reactions, the welts appear and fade repeatedly and vary in size.

The YouTuber shared his condition with fans in the hope that maybe one or two can relate to what he has been going through and maybe work out a solution on the same.

“Anyone with this condition, how do you go about it?” he posed.

Comedian Flaqo rare skin condition

“Sometimes I have to postpone my shoots because they are unbearable. Zangu zilipotea for 6 months straight. Now they are back…” he replied to a fan who shared a similar experience.

Funny enough, soon as he had put up the post, he got so much feedback, with so many individuals able to relate to his skin condition, to his amazement.

“So far: try staying in the sun for a bit, bathe with warm water after taking antihistamines. To understand your condition better, make a point of seeing a dermatologist,” Flaqo shared with fans battling a similar condition, after gathering responses from his fan base.

Wrapping up urging fellow victims to take plenty of water, work out more often and avoid proteins since hives get triggered by things like particular foods, medication and stress.

By Ghafla.com


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Health

MP’s battle with Covid-19 at home

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On November 2, Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama drove to Naivasha to attend the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting.

Earlier, Mr Arama had taken a Covid-19 test at a health facility in Nakuru after he experienced chills at night.

However, on arrival at the hotel where he was to spend the night, he started experiencing chills again and developed fever, pain in the joints and nausea.

Soon he started experiencing shortness of breath.

He informed his colleagues that he was feeling unwell, and they quickly planned to take him to Nairobi for treatment.

Not able to walk

“When I booked into my room, my body temperature was high and I had chills. It was at that time that I received a phone call from health officials that I had tested positive for Covid-19. I had gone for the test before travelling to Naivasha,” he recalled.

But when he informed the department of health about his plan to travel to Nairobi for treatment, he was counselled and advised by the County Chief Officer of Public Health Samuel King’ori to self-isolate in his house where he would be monitored by medics.

Inside an isolation room in his house, he was put on supplemental oxygen and fed through tubes, with doctors examining him in the morning, afternoon and at night.

“For the past several weeks, I have kept off the public because I was not able to walk, talk or eat after being diagnosed with Covid-19,” said Arama.

After 15 days, he began to feed normally and later tested negative for coronavirus.

“God has been merciful to me. Gasping for air and feeding through tubes was the most trying moment in my life. Actually, this was my first time to feed through tubes and get oxygen support,” he said.

The MP plans to work with community health volunteers, the police and youth to sensitise locals on Covid-19 preventive measures.

He wants to buy at least 20,000 masks to distribute to the needy through local administrators and nyumba kumi members.

Prior to being diagnosed with Covid-19, Arama used to hold a meeting with constituents.

Initially, he used to criticise police whenever they arrested people for contravening Covid-19 protocols.

“At times I would rush to the police station whenever I heard that someone had been arrested, but now I support the police to fully enforce the set containment measures. It is through discipline that we will save the society,” he said.

He said during meetings with constituents he never thought he would contract the virus.

“I take this opportunity to thank God for giving me this second chance to serve Him and the people of Nakuru Town West,” he said.

His message to the public is to wear masks, wash hands with soap and water and avoid crowds.

“We need everyone to put on masks, wash hands with soap and water and avoid gatherings. This is the only way to contain the spread of this virus,” said the MP.

Dedication and courage

Arama applauded health workers in Nakuru, for their dedication and courage in the fight against Covid-19.

“I can confirm to you that Nakuru County has the best health facilities, equipment and qualified medical personnel. I spent two weeks on oxygen support machine, intensive treatment and consistent checkups,” he said.

Health records indicate that the attack rate in Nakuru is 169.2 out of 100,000 population, with a case fatality of 2.2 per cent.

Although the MP was reluctant to reveal the cost of his treatment, a source at the local department of health told The Standard he incurred a bill of Sh51,684 per day because he required supplemental oxygen and his condition was critical.

By Standardmedia.co.ke


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Health

Close friend, carrier of deadly disease

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Dog has always been mans best friend, but without responsible ownership, they are turning to I be the worst man’s enemy bet cause of rabies.

J The deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite. Warm-blooded animals serve as reservoirs for rabies, with unvaccinated dogs as the main reservoir worldwide.

Florence Ndinda from Makueni county is one of those who can’t stand a dog’s presence after her two granddaughters, who she is taking care of, were bitten by her own dog, which was rabid.

She remembers vividly how two years ago one of her granddaughters, Florence Mbithe [then eight], was bitten by one of her puppies. Mbithe was playing with other children outside their house when a puppy came running to her. Before Florence could rescue Mbithe, the puppy had already bitten her.

Confused without knowing what to do, Ndinda took her granddaughter to the nearby dispensary for first aid. After receiving help, she was connected to the Makueni Rabies Surveillance team who came and took samples from that dog and the result showed it was rabid. They were also referred to Makueni Level Five hospital for Mbithe’s treatment.

“I was advised to isolate the dog for 10 days as the rest were getting the vaccine, but I didn’t. I felt that since it was a puppy it won’t harm any other person,” she says.

Since she couldn’t manage to go to Makueni hospital that same day, she had to go there the following day. While away, the same puppy attacked her youngest granddaughter Abigael Ndinda then aged four. With no Post-Exposure rabies Prophylaxis [PEP] vaccine at the hospital, she was forced to buy it from the nearby pharmacy.

It was not easy to get the required five doses per person for both her granddaughters. With a dose going for Sh950, she only managed to buy them three doses each. She also vowed to never ever keep dogs in her compound and even her neighbor’s dogs are always chased away when spotted in her compound.

“PEP is compulsory if you are bitten by a dog, cat, or another animal that is rabid or is suspected to be infected with rabies. An exposed person who has never been vaccinated against rabies should get four doses of the vaccine and another shot called Rabies Immune Globulin [RIG]. A previously vaccinated person should get two doses of the vaccine. They do not need RIG. Always, make sure you complete the dose,” says Dr Emily Mudoga, Animals Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection.

The vaccine is made up of the dead rabies virus. When it is injected into the body, the immune system immediately starts to produce antibodies to fight off the perceived infection. Multiple shots ensure the levels of antibodies remain elevated so that even if the live virus is already in your system, the antibodies will neutralise it.

Besides humans, rabid dogs attack livestock. Makueni county alone lost 300 livestock in the last five years. The number, however, is suspected to be higher since most cases go unreported.

Jane Nduku is one of the residents who lost her cow after it was attacked by a rabid dog. It took some days before she realised the cow had been bitten. She only found when she called the veterinary to report that the cow was suffering from foot and mouth disease as it couldn’t swallow anything. The veterinary confirmed otherwise.

“When the veterinary visited us, the dog that had attacked the cow had started showing rabid signs, but hadn’t gone crazy. So after taking samples and the result turned positive, we were advised to kill both the cow and the dog. That is exactly what we did,” says Nduku.

Richard Muteti, a veterinary who also doubles up as a field officer for rabies surveillance for Kenya Medical Research Institute in Makueni county, says some cases go unreported because livestock owners confuse rabies with foot-and-mouth disease, hemorrhagic septicaemia or choking.

Disease surveillance To ensure farmers are able to differentiate rabies from the above, he says they have been creating awareness about rabies and advising farmers to report if a dog attacks their animals. Because of these, reported cases of livestock being bitten by dogs have increased unlike before when people used not to report.

“At Makueni sub-county alone, we have been getting about 12 cases of dog or animal bites weekly. Since not all dog/animal bites are rabid about 20 cases turns positive annually,” says Muteti.

Currently, over 70 per cent of the county is now reporting any dog /animal bite witnessed. Muteti reveals they are targeting 90 per cent.

To make sure all bite cases have been captured at the county level, Dr Daniel Ksee, Acting Director, Veterinary Services in the county, says they are set to unveil an Integrated Bite Case Management [IBCM], an approach for rabies surveillance that directly and formally links workers in public health and veterinary sectors to assess risk of rabies among animal bite patients and biting animals, respectively.

“This approach will help us with contact tracing, and we will be able to come up with concrete data about rabies in the county. We hope this approach will be embraced by other counties,” says Ksee.

Apart from this approach, Ksee says other initiatives in place include: annaul mass dog vaccination, that have seen about 300,000 dogs vaccinated; and training the community and teachers about responsible dog ownership.

He says most farmers don’t know the importance of vaccinating their dogs. Farmers have been focusing on animals that generate some income such as cows, goats, pigs and donkeys.

“We decided to use teachers because they can easily reach the students. They have been integrating responsible dog ownership topics in their programmes and we have recorded a decrease of stray dogs across the county,” adds Ksee.

It is recommended for puppies to get the vaccination at three months for the first time, followed at nine months, and then yearly boosters. In some cases, the first vaccination can be given as early as two months, but with precaution. For adult dogs, the first vaccination should be given as soon as possible, and a local veterinarian

should be consulted.

In Kenya alone, about 2,000 people die annually because of rabies yet it is 100 per cent vaccine-preventable. The World Health Organisation says rabies is estimated to cause 59,000 human deaths annually in over 150 countries, with 95 per cent of cases occurring in Africa and Asia. Due to widespread underreporting and uncertain estimates, it is likely this is a gross underestimate of the true burden of disease.

“In Kenya, domesticated dogs are responsible for transmission of over 98 per cent of all human rabies cases. Apart from dog bites, the virus can also be transmitted when saliva enters any open wound or mucus membrane,” says Mudoga.

Although the campaign to make Kenya a rabies-free country has been running for the last 100 years, we are yet to eliminate the virus because, according to Mudoga, there is lac” political goodwill.

“Rabies vaccine has not been prioritised by counties despite that it is easier to vaccinate than to treat. The government needs to make this vaccine mandatory, put more resources for the campaign, and bring communities on board. With all that done, it will be possible to have zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030,” adds Mudoga.

Survival chances

Generally, it takes between 30 to 50 days for rabies symptoms to develop. They appear once the virus reaches the spinal cord or brain. However, in some cases, symptoms can appear in just 10 days or it even over a year The duration depends on factors such as location of virus entry and viral load. Initial symptoms are flu, difficulty swallowing followed by fever, a headache and vomiting.

“Currently there is no cure for raibes. If you are bitten, you should visit your doctor right away. The incubation period can be as little as five days, so don’t assume you can wait for a week to see if the animal that bit you is unwell before seeking medical attention. The chances of survival are extremely low once the patient becomes symptomatic,” adds Mudoga.

And what should one do if bitten by an animal?

M udoga says the most effective first-aid treatment against rabies is to wash and flush the wound immediately with soap and water for 10-15 minutes. If soap is not available, flushing it with water alone is also acceptable.

MANAGEMENT

• Extensive washing and local treatment of the bite wound or scratch as soon as possible after a suspected exposure.

• A course of potent and effective rabies vaccine that meets WHO standards. • The administration of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG), if indicated.

by PD.co.ke


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