KENYA: How Public health Volunteer, 6 people infected 81 others with COVID-19 in Nairobi, Mombasa


Health workers demonstrate handwashing as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19

AGENCIES | Citizen Digital | Nairobi – It is now emerging that out of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, 75 percent of them showed no symptoms and thus stood little chance of ever being picked without tracing of contacts.

According to information released by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, 81 of the current cases have been traced to just seven contacts.

The Ministry of Tuesday said out of the 535 positive cases that had been established by Tuesday, 75 percent were picked at a point the patients showed no symptoms. Of the 133 people that showed symptoms, 62 percent presented a cough, 58 percent had fever while 30 percent had difficulty in breathing.

All other Covid-19 symptoms were rare among those positive recording less than 15 percent prevalence.

The contact tracing by the Ministry of Health has established at least seven chains of transmission, 6 in Nairobi and one at the Coast.

In Kawangware for instance, patient number 189 is reported to have passed the virus to 14 others both directly and indirectly.

The case, a volunteer for public health emergency operations, was detected during surveillance for health workers.

29 contacts were followed up based on information she shared. She infected five people in her household being a day-scholar house help, two friends and two children. One of the friends had spent a weekend at the health worker’s home.

And when the house-help returned home, she infected her husband, her twin sons and her adult sister. During the same period, one of the health worker’s friends infected three people; a daughter, a niece and a neighbour with whom they share the apartment. The neighbour then passed on the virus to her son and daughter.

In Nairobi’s Parklands estate, seven cases can be traced to patient number 335. She is said to have infected her house help, two sisters, two daughters and her driver. Her househelp had sought refuge at her sister’s house in Eastleigh. The sister sells tea in Eastleigh and contracted the virus.

In Dandora, case number 296 tested positive after days of showing symptoms related to Covid-19. By the time she was detected, she had passed on the virus to her sister, two daughters and a nephew with whom they shared a house.

In Kibra, case number 312 is said to have been unwell for about two weeks and that she had been taken to a hospital where she was treated for Amoeba. But the symptoms persisted and she was diagnosed with chest infection at a clinic in Westlands.

Three days later she tested positive for the virus. She passed on the virus to her husband and a sister. The sister also passed the virus to her two children. The Ministry of Health says the sister remains uncooperative with contact tracing team and thus unable to pursue the cases further.

In Mombasa though, the spread of the virus is getting out of hand. A single infection can be traced to 37 more infections.

Case number 14 is reported to have spread the virus to six people directly — 5 in kilifi and one in Mombasa county. Two of those spread the virus further. One of them, a Kenya Ports Authority staffer who has since died, is suspected to have spread the virus to 8 others.

Out of the 8, four are believed to have spread it further to a combined 27 people, with the highest spreading to 8 people.

Back to one of the first recipients of the virus, in Rabai Kilifi County, case number 141 is said to have been infected, passing on the virus to three other people.

With the coronavirus cases now at 582, more than 3,900 contacts have been listed by the Ministry. Of these, 111 contacts have tested positive.

However, the majority of the contacts completed the mandatory 14 days follow up and were discharged after either showing no signs of the virus or testing negative. Contact tracing, however, remains a challenge where some of the patients are not forthcoming with full details.

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