31 July 2012

Kenya Readies Border for Ebola Outbreak

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo has moved to assure the nation that so far there has been no confirmed case of Ebola in the country even as a ... ( Resource: Kenyan Govt Dismisses Ebola Claims )

The Ministry of Public Health has supplied health facilities near the Uganda border with face masks and goggles among other protective clothings after an Ebola outbreak was confirmed in the neighbouring country.

The Ministry has advised the medics to treat all flu cases with 'suspicion'. Dr Ian Njeru, head of disease surveillance and response at the ministry said although the outbreak in Western Uganda was contained, Kenya will still go ahead with emergency prevention.

Ugandan government officials and the World Health Organisation confirmed the outbreak on Saturday. Health officials said at least 20 people were infected and of those 14 have died. The disease, named after a small river in DR Congo, has struck Uganda several times. The disease killed 37 people in 2007 and at least 170 in 2000.

Director of Public Health Shahnaaz Sharif said no case of Ebola has ever been reported in Kenya. The last suspected case was in December 2011, where a 29-year-old woman died at Kenyatta National Hospital. The disease was confirmed as hematemesis, the excessive vomiting of blood. Public Health officials said they have also formed a committee to assess how the country is prepared in case of an outbreak. "We would like people to be alert. We advise health workers to take blood samples and bring them to the Kenya Medical Research Institute and practise barrier nursing," dr Njeru said.

Ebola patients experience flu, muscle pains, weakness, fever, headache and sore throat. Later the patients present abdominal pains, diarrhea and organ failure and bleeding in a few cases. "There's no treatment for Ebola. We can only prevent it by isolating cases and trying to manage it," he said. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids and tissues of infected persons. It can also be transmitted by handling sick or dead infected wild animals. In Uganda, 12 of the dead belong to one family.

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