The Star (Nairobi)

1 August 2012

Kenya: Screening Camp Set Up in Busia As Ebola Fears Rise

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 government has set up a surveillance camp in Busia county to screen people at the Kenya-Uganda border over fears of an outbreak of Ebola.

"We have set up a camp in Busia and the frontier health officers are there to be able to pick any suspicion of the disease," said Western provincial public health director Quinto Ahindukha.

Ahindukha said hospitals in Busia and Bungoma counties have set aside isolation wards for suspected cases though none had been detected so far. He said the Kenya Medical Research Institute is testing blood specimens from suspicious cases. "Our field staff have already been informed on how to transport specimens for testing," said Ahindukha, who briefed the media in his office yesterday. "All the hospitals have been put in high alert to report any cases that may present signs similar to Ebola fever since it presents signs similar to those of malaria," he said.

Ahindukha said health officials from Kenya and Tanzania will meet and discuss the matter. "The meeting will discuss the best ways of curtailing the spread of the disease across the border points," said Ahindukha. "All disease surveillance teams in the province have been activated and asked to ensure their officers have a high index of suspicion. There is, however, no cause to worry at the moment," he said.

He, however, said referral hospitals in the region are ill-equipped to deal with Ebola cases. "The government is in the process of supplying the gears to the hospitals in Busia and Bungoma counties," said Ahindukha. An outbreak of Ebola, an haemorrhagic fever, reported in Uganda at the weekend has killed 14 people, 12 from one family. Ugandan authorities on Monday reported the disease to have reached Kampala, the capital city.

Ebola fever is a viral infection transmitted by the direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected persons. Burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased persons can play a significant role in the transmission of the fever. Signs of the attack include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscles pain, headache and sore throat which are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases internal and external bleeding.

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