Kenya on high alert for Ebola

By Yassin Juma, Thursday, March 27, 2014

NAIROBI – Kenya has adopted a raft of measures aimed at averting the spread of Ebola in the country following the recent outbreak of the deadly virus in Guinea.

"We require all those entering Kenya from Guinea, or who have been to Guinea, to state clearly how long they have stayed in the country and which areas they have visited," Medical Services Director Dr. Francis Kimani told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

The Health Ministry has issued an alert, instructing authorities at all points of entry to screen anyone who has recently visited Guinea.

All those entering Kenya are now required to inform local health officials if they show any symptoms associated with the Ebola virus.

"To rule out any Ebola case, suspected cases will be isolated and investigated," said Dr. Kimani.

Some 80 cases of Ebola have recently been recorded in Guinea in West Africa – 60 of whom eventually succumbed to the virus.

Ebola is a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus tends to cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate of some 90 percent.

The virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads through human-to-human transmission.

The tropical fever appeared for the first time in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was named after the Ebola River, which runs close to the Congolese town of Yambuku – the site of the first documented case of the virus.

It is not the first time that Kenya has issued an Ebola alert.

In July 2012, a similar alert was issued by the Health Ministry when Ebola claimed the lives of 14 people in neighboring Uganda.

In a Thursday statement, Health Cabinet Minister James Macharia stressed Kenya's preparedness to avert the spread of Ebola.

"Following several outbreaks of hemorrhagic fevers [Ebola and Marburg] in neighboring countries in the last three years, the ministry has built a very strong capacity in terms of training people on how to identify, investigate, treat and control any outbreak," Macharia said.

He added that Kenya had sufficient stocks of drugs at all its hospitals and at all the country's entry points.

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