While originally reported as a dengue fever in our earlier blog post on the subject, an epidemic of what appears to be an unknown disease continues to spread in western Yemen. Unconfirmed newspaper reports state the epidemic emerged approximately one month ago, reportedly disproportionately affecting women and children. Schools have been adversely affected in a number of towns due to both student and teacher absentees, as the illness and fear of it spread in the region. Attempts by the government to calm the situation do not appear to be working.
Known in Yemen as “Al Mukrifas” (المكرفس), most of its spread has been south of the province’s capital in rural areas in and around Zabid, Beit al Faqih, Jebel Ras, Al Jurrasi (Translates incorrectly as “Surgical” in Google Translate) and Al Khawkhah (which translates incorrectly as “nectarine in Google Translate). Reports vary, but up to 4 have died in Al Khawkhah and up to 5 in Jebel Ras. Symptoms include those similar to Dengue fever and an unspecfied “German fever”, including caugh, headache, swelling of the face and joints, myalgias and, occasionally, bleeding under the skin. Medical treatment has so far been supportive.