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Kenya issues health alert after Ebola outbreak in Uganda

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By Judith Gicobi

Following the announcement of an Ebola virus resurgence in Uganda, Kenya’s Ministry of Health has issued a health alert.
According to the Ugandan Health Ministry, the outbreak was discovered in a community in central Uganda and resulted in one death.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe noted on Wednesday that due to the porous nature of the Kenya-Uganda border in the Western area, there is significant human movement between the two countries, placing Kenya at a high risk of importing Ebola.

As a result, he sent out a warning to all counties, urging them to be watchful, increase monitoring, particularly at the border, mobilize rapid response teams to assist in the identification of any suspected evasions, and report any such occurrences as soon as possible.

Further recommendations made by the Health CS included screening at-risk groups such truck drivers, bush meat handlers, travelers, and medical professionals as well as raising community awareness of suspected cases.

“Sensitise health care workers on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, case management and sample management and mobilise all the relevant stakeholders to initiate prevention, preparedness a. response measures and development of county EVD contingency plans,” CS Kagwe directed.

Additionally, he asked Kenyans to exercise extra caution when traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, where recurring outbreaks have significantly influenced the ebola cases Uganda has previously reported.

Instead of panicking, CS Kagwe advised Kenyans to keep an eye out for anyone exhibiting an acute start of fever and any other Ebola symptoms, “especially if in contact with poisons with history of travel from Uganda and/or Democratic Republic of Congo within the previous three weeks.”

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Only one fatality has been reported in Uganda to date, that of a 24-year-old man who was being treated for other illnesses when Ebola-like symptoms and indications first appeared.

In order to find any close relatives of the deceased, Ugandan health officials are tracing their contacts, while six strange deaths from the past are currently being investigated.

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