Viral infections leading cause of sickness

Monday December 9 2019

Viral infections cause various illnesses in

Viral infections cause various illnesses in children. I File Photo PHOTO | FILE 

By Salome Gregory

It is his second day since he started experiencing fever and vomiting then followed up by diarrhoea.

He lost his appetite and he has slowed down on his activities, he can barely keep up with his agemates when playing.

His parents had to rush the little boy to the hospital where they are advised to proceed to the laboratory to have several tests done on their son, including urine and stool tests as well as full blood count and a malaria test.

In half an hour results were out and none of the tests came up positive.

It was a shock for his parents as they expected it could be either malaria or urinary tract infection (UTI).

But the doctor told them their son had viral infection.


A viral infection is caused by a germ that causes infections those results in colds, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhoea, and fever with a rash.

Dr Julius Twoli says, viral infection causes fever which can be on and off for three days and even for a week.

It is recommended for parents to take their children to the hospital at early stages to avoid the infection from progressing.

He says, it is recommended that when a child has a constant fever for more than six hours it is better to see a doctor.

However there are viral infections that can just clear by itself.

But it is important to see a doctor and do tests that can determine what the problem is, for proper treatment options.

“It is very important to take children to the hospital soon as they react to something even if it is something small.

Children’s bodies are still struggling with immunity this makes them very fragile to diseases, “says Twoli.

Adding to that he says, viral infection can be prevented by washing children’s hands more often.

Handwashing should be practised after one uses the bathroom as well as before and after preparing food as this helps to prevent children from viral infections.

Dr Surender Kuboja a Paediatric Cardiologist from the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI).

Says for children viral infections easily spreads when they come into contact during play.

He says, for the past two months parents have been bringing children to the hospital for same viarl infection problems.

He came across a couple who took their child for chest treatment but he had viral infection.

Since the baby had breathing challenges they thought it could be something connected to heart issues.

It was until a heart scan was done were their fears allayed.

Their baby had an allergic reaction and they failed to determine what had caused it.

He says, out of 50 children he sees about 20 of them will be having viral infection.

Most of the times treatment depends on how the tests come out.