Flue bug hits Bulawayo, two people die
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TWO people have died in Bulawayo after reportedly showing symptoms of a deadly influenza bug that has gripped the city and other parts of the country, the Chronicle reported.
Last week the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare confirmed the death of a Mutare resident after contracting the flu.
Some residents say they now fear for their lives as it is alleged that the people who succumbed to the influenza died a few hours after contracting the virus.
"We do not know what is happening because it is normal to have flu during the winter season. My sister was fit and healthy but started complaining of flu and a severe headache on 22 July in the afternoon. After a few hours she became worse and started feeling dizzy.
"Her condition deteriorated and we took her to Mpilo Central Hospital in the evening. When we got to the hospital, officials confirmed she had flu which was also the cause of the headache and after a while at around 11pm, my sister died," said a man from Nkulumane 12 who declined to be identified. He said his family was failing to come to terms with the death of his sister from flu, an ailment which normally does not kill. Another resident said his aunt died a day after contracting flu.
"My aunt started complaining of flu, fever and a severe headache but her colleagues took it lightly. She knocked off and came home and her condition deteriorated. After about two hours she died," said the man from Magwegwe West.
Another resident identified as Samantha from Makokoba said she was struggling to recover from the influenza, which had unusual symptoms.
"I started feeling weak last Tuesday and discovered I had flu. What worried me was that after contracting the flu, I developed chest pains, a fever, a severe headache and lost appetite at the same time.
"I do not know what is happening in my body because at one moment my back aches, and then the next minute I feel very dizzy. I have never experienced this in my life and I think this is no longer flu but some infection not known in the country because no one can have these symptoms at the same time," said Samantha.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Dr Wedu Ndebele could neither confirm nor deny the developments, saying he was away for the greater part of July.
"I was away from the country and I only came back yesterday. I have not received any report with regards to the influenza and will need to consult the clinical director before I comment on anything," said Dr Ndebele.
Bulawayo's director of Health Services Dr Zanele Hwalima had not responded to written questions by the time of going to Press.
Contacted for comment, head of epidemiology and disease control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Portia Manangazira confirmed one death and said her department was still investigating.
"We received a report of a Mutare man who succumbed to flu last week. I cannot confirm now and say for now that there is an outbreak but it is true that this winter season has intensified flu symptoms.
"The most common influenza is H3N2 which does not have severe symptoms that can kill. However, we all know that in 2010 we had an outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) though this does not imply the virus is now back," said Dr Manangazira.
She encouraged members of the public to stay warm, avoid exposure to the cold and to take as much liquids as possible.
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