|Location of Zimbabwe|
With the very strong caveat that we often see hyperbolic reports of disease outbreaks from the African media - and most (but not all) turn out to be less dire than first thought - there are multiple reports of `severe influenza' in Zimbabwe this morning, that has led to the closure of a number of schools.
Twitter, and other social media are also filled with similar reports (see below).
|Twitter Screen Shot 0700hrs EDT 8/11|
Typical of the reporting this morning is this, from ZimEye.net.
11th August 2017
Staff Reporter | Medical practitioners have warned of an outbreak of a highly complicated and possibly fatal flu bug which has hit the country.
A Bulawayo based doctor told the state run media yesterday the complicated flu which exhibits symptoms of malaria and is potentially fatal if not properly treated, has hit thousands of people around the country.
Meanwhile, Manicaland Provincial Education Director Mr Edward Shumba told the same media that the epidemic had hit his province hard so much that three schools had to be closed last week.(Continue . . . )
According to the report, Bende Primary School, Bende Secondary School and Melleray Primary School in the province had to send learners for an early school holiday last week as the flu wreaked havoc in the area.
Ministry of Health and Child Care Director of Epidemiology and Dieses Control, Dr Portia Manangazira however downplayed the outbreak claiming that the Ministry is yet to meet and assess the situation before making any declarations.
The Ministry immediately also dispelled a social media circulating message that the flu outbreak may be a human version of the deadly H5N8 bird flu.
It is, of course, flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, and we've already seen reports of heavy flu activity out of Australia, as well as this summer's unusually severe outbreak in Hong Kong and Southern China.
While this is likely no more than a localized outbreak of seasonal H3N2 or H1N1, influenza has a high capacity to surprise us, and so we'll continue to keep an eye on the flu situation in Southern Africa as their winter season rolls on.