Kenya on high alert after suspected Ebola case in Kericho


Ebola Virus. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A suspected case of Ebola at the Kericho County Referral Hospital is yet to be confirmed as health authorities wait on results from Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

A statement from the Kericho county government established that preliminary test results are expected to be ready within the next 12 to 24 hours.

The statement also confirmed that a female patient who travelled to Malaba to visit her husband is said to have exhibited suspected symptoms of the haemorrhagic fever at Kericho County Referral Hospital.

"The County Disease Surveillance Team immediately took over the matter and took all the necessary precautions to ensure that there was minimal contact between the patient and other persons at the hospital including the staff and the other hospital users," reads the statement.

The recent confirmed cases of Ebola in Uganda raised concerns that the epidemic was likely to spread further and kill many more people.

This unconfirmed case comes even as the Ministry of Health said that it was screening travellers at all border and entry points, including those using domestic flights.

“Incoming travellers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and other countries are undergoing screening using the thermo scanners and hand-held thermo guns at major airports, including Wilson Airport,” said a statement from the ministry.

The news comes at a time when the World Health Organization Emergency Committee said that that although the Ebola outbreak in DRC is an emergency in the country and the region, it does not currently constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

“While the outbreak is an extraordinary event, with risk of international spread, the ongoing response would not be enhanced by formal Temporary Recommendations under the IHR (2005),” WHO said in a statement.

Ebola virus spreads to people through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola virus.

This can occur when a person touches the infected body fluids (or objects that are contaminated with them), and the virus gets in through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The virus can also spread to people through direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or primates. People can get the virus through sexual contact as well.