The Kenyan Ministry of Health has reported an outbreak of chikungunya in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The outbreak started in mid-December 2017 when clinicians observed an increasing number of cases of an undiagnosed febrile illness, presenting with very high fever, joint pains and general body weakness, and testing negative for malaria and sometimes dengue fever.

Blood samples submitted to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Arboviral Laboratory in Nairobi showed that dozens of specimens tested positive for chikungunya on polymerase chain reaction.

As of 8 January 2018, a total of 45 suspected cases of chikungunya and no deaths have been documented.

All six sub-counties in Mombasa have reported cases, namely Mvita, Kisauni, Nyali, Changamwe, Jomvu, and Likoni. Most of the cases are from the island of Mvita.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain, which is often debilitating. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and Zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where they are common. As there is no cure, treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

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Kenya generally and Mombasa specifically has reported chikungunya outbreaks in previous years.