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Outbreak Investigation of Suspected Influenza in Makoni District of Manical and Province, Zimbabwe


Introduction- An outbreak of suspected influenza was detected at Sangano clinic where most of the cases were coming from Mukuwapasi and ST Lukes primary schools which are 4 km and 3km respectively from the clinic. A total of 571 cases were reported and no deaths were reported. The source of infection was not known and this study was done to investigate risk factors associated with contracting the suspected influenza.

Methods and Materials- A descriptive cross sectional study design and an unmatched 1:1 case control were conducted where a case was any person who presented with signs and symptoms of flu with or without a viral positive test, but living in the surrounding area of Sangano. A control was any person residing in the same area who did not present the signs and symptoms of suspected influenza during the same period. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data

Results- A total of one hundred and ninety six participants (98 cases and 98 controls) were enrolled and the summaries of results are as follows. Risk factors associated with contracting suspected influenza at Sangano clinic include: Sharing a bed with someone with flu symptoms in the past 7 days (OR=2.85: CI=2.241-3.451), having a relative visiting in past 7 days with symptoms of flu (OR=2.93; CI=1.538- 5.434), greeting by shaking hands or hugging any person who was ill within the last 7 days (OR=3.26; CI=1.21 - 10.19), sharing clothes and bedding with a friend(OR=2.16; CI=1.28-7.46) and being a school resident (OR= 4.43; CI= 1.21- 10.19).

Discussion and conclusion – It was noted that lower knowledge levels among school children, coughing and sneezing at each other and greeting by shaking hands, hugging promoted the spread of suspected influenza. Health workers lacked skills in managing cases. A study by  (Rabie,2006) also found out that Hand washing has been shown to reduce non-specific respiratory infection risk by 6% to 44% in various settings and was highly effective in preventing transmission of SARS (Fung, 2006).Therefore there is need for Health promotion officer to  health education to school children and community to avoid close contact during outbreaks


Case-control, Cross –sectional, Influenza, Outbreak

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