Written By: Mohammed Ali Kalfood For the Yemen Observer
Article Date: Mar 6, 2011 - 8:50:18 AM
A contagious disease, popularly known as Mukarfas, has emerged and rapidly spread across various districts and villages of Hodeida governorate, local medical sources have confirmed.
It is believed that this contagious disease first appeared in Hodeida in October last year. It has left Hodeida’s citizens terrified and most doctors remain perplexed over the changing symptoms and nature of this disease.
Up to now, it has controversially been identified as ‘Dengue Fever’ which previously occurred and mostly spread in the northern parts of Hodeida governorate by the end of 2009, according to the Hodeida Health Bureau. The Yemen Observer contacted and met with some Hodeida health officials, academics and specialist doctors to conduct a comprehensive report on this deadly disease. Mukarfas dates back nearly six decades, said local sources. Mohammed Hossein, 45, from Al-Ma’arofiah in Al-Zaidyah district in Hodeida, said he had come heard about it since childhood.
“When I was a child, people used to say that Mukarfas was a disease that causes joint pain so severe to animals that these animals cannot move or even stand at all,” said Hossein. Dr. Haza’a Al-Qadasi, a university lecturer focusing on liver and diets, said that there was no disease called Mukarfas; rather it is an illness that occurs due to the infection of dengue fever with similar symptoms.
He said that the dengue fever virus was the result of a female mosquito transmitting it from the infected person to others. The host period lasts only five days. These infectious mosquitoes procreate amid sewage waste or garbage and mostly during winter. He also stressed that when the person is infected with the virus and if not treated immediately the disease will develop and cause hemorrhage and lead to death.
Local medical sources confirmed that this disease causes malignant symptoms that are mostly common with the symptoms of both dengue and German fevers. The symptoms start with increasingly abnormal high body temperature that often results in long-term loss of consciousness. In addition, the symptoms are acute and diachronic flu with coughing, headache, face distension, joint pain, body shaking, flow of blood from mouth and nose, skin rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, neck pain and back pain. Director of the Al-Olafi hospital in Hodeida, Dr. Yasser Jameel Shahir, also said that there was no disease called Mukarfas. This was just a popular word derived from the symptoms commonly related with dengue fever. Dr. Abdullah Al-Hariri, head of the nursing department at the Military Hospital in Hodeida, said that most of the recent medical checkups included Complete Blood Count tests to seek traces of the virus.
Dr. Najeeb Mulhi, head of the Hodeida Medical Doctor’s Association, said that this disease can take kill an infected person within two days as it causes acute hemorrhage and sudden renal failure. He said that the patient would experience increased body temperature, a high percentage of blood cells and irregular reduction of platelets, leading to sudden renal failure. Mulhi also expressed serious concern that up to now the disease in Hodeida has not clearly been identified and that its symptoms were in fact different from Mukarfas or dengue fever.
Dr. Ali Al-Ahdal, head of the Dialysis Center in Hodeida, said that the cases of renal failure that have been registered over the past two months totaled 45 and that five patients had died. The center had never seen such cases, he said. A medical report issued early last week by the appointed medical team of Hodeida Health Bureau revealed that at least 24 persons have died and more than 202 have been infected.
The medical report also stated that all cases showed viral and bacterial infections that were irresponsive to antibiotics. This resulted in neural and circulatory shock, a lack of urine, severe renal failure and high body temperature, in addition to diarrhea and vomiting. Medical teams in Hodeida expressed concern over the aggravating situation. Al-Thowra and Al-Olafi public hospitals is meanwhile experiencing a rapid increase of patients.
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