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Kenya starts traveller screening as Ebola spreads to Uganda

Sicily Kariuki
Health Secretary Sicily Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya is on high alert following the first confirmed cases of the deadly Ebola virus in neighbouring Uganda.

The Ministry of Health said Wednesday 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.

A holding room has also been set up at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi for any suspected cases awaiting possible transfer to the Ebola treatment unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

Uganda announced two more cases of Ebola yesterday following the reported diagnosis of a five-year-old boy with the virus on Tuesday. The boy, said to have travelled with his mother from the DRC on Sunday, died Tuesday night.

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The Ugandan cases raised concerns that the epidemic was likely to spread further and kill many more people.

This is the first time Ebola has crossed the DRC into Uganda since the outbreak was declared a year ago.

The current Ebola epidemic began in August last year in eastern Congo and has already infected at least 2,062 people, killing 1,390 of them.

The viral disease spreads through contact with bodily fluids, causing haemorrhagic fever with severe vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding.

This outbreak is the second largest on record after a West African epidemic in 2013-2016 infected 28,000 people and killed 11,300, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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