Kenya firms up border checks as Uganda declares Ebola outbreak
The Ministry of Health has called on Kenyans to heed control measures, especially at the border points, following the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola disease in neighbouring Uganda.
Kenya’s Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Sultani Matendechero, has said visitors, including long-distance drivers and traders, will be subjected to screening at the border crossings.
“Those exhibiting signs of sickness will be isolated before being allowed in after treatment and a multiagency team to beef up surveillance has been set up to prevent and protect the public against Ebola disease reported in Uganda,” said Dr Matendechero.
Dr Matendechero further said that those “with fever will not be allowed to mingle freely and will undergo medical check-up, and if need be, we shall conduct contact tracing to prevent the disease in the country.”
Uganda’s Health Ministry on Tuesday announced the country’s first fatality from the highly contagious Ebola virus since 2019, declaring an outbreak in the central district of Mubende.
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In a statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said a 24-year-old man in Mubende had tested positive for “the relatively rare Sudan strain” of the virus.
“This follows an investigation by the National Rapid Response team of six suspicious deaths that have occurred in the district this month,” WHO said, adding that eight other suspected patients were undergoing treatment.
WHO Africa Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti said “we are working closely with the national health authorities to investigate the source of this outbreak while supporting the efforts to quickly roll out effective control measures.”
Uganda, which shares a porous border with the Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced several Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2019, when at least five people died.
Ebola is a contagious viral disease spread through body fluids like blood and symptoms include severe bleeding, persistent headache, muscle pain, chills and fever.
Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the DRC. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. Scientists do not know where Ebola virus comes from.