Thursday, August 2, 2012

Airports agency issues new rules to check Ebola spread

Travellers from Uganda undergo Ebola screening at Busia border point. An Ebola scanner at Malaba has broken down, MPs were told at the weekend. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Travellers from Uganda undergo Ebola screening at Busia border point. An Ebola scanner at Malaba has broken down, MPs were told at the weekend. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Ebola anxiety:Man quarantined at Moi Referral Hosp. in Eldoret
By Nation Team [email protected]

Airport authorities have prepared guidelines for airlines operating flights from Uganda to Kenya to ensure no Ebola cases enter the country.

These are part of measures taken to ensure that the deadly disease, which was first detected in Kabaale district in Uganda, does not spread to Kenya.

Kenya Airports Authority public health officer Mohammed Duba said scheduled and chartered flights arriving from Uganda were expected to report suspected cases on board so that emergency evacuation could be arranged.

“We have issued memos to airlines with flights from Uganda to Nairobi advising the crew on what steps to take in case there are any suspected cases on board,” he said.

At the JKIA, an isolation facility has been set up and an emergency exit prepared to evacuate visitors suspected to have contracted the disease that has so far claimed 15 lives since it was first detected two weeks ago.

Other measures contained in the memo include a directive to have precautionary equipment aboard flights and also prepare a locator card, which entails filling in the names of two passengers sitting at the front, back and sideways of a suspected case, which are then monitored on entering the country.

Mr Duba, who is a member of the National Taskforce on Ebola, said the country was not in panic, as the team was closely working with World Health Organisation officials, who had assured Kenya that the area where Ebola cases were reported had been quarantined.

“The WHO has assured us all the contacts had been followed up and quarantined,” he said.

In the affected parts of western Uganda, 38 cases suspected to have contracted the deadly disease through contact with the victims, have been quarantined.

Meanwhile, Public Health minister Beth Mugo told Parliament that any suspicious cases would be tackled immediately.

A suspected case in Siaya on Monday was cleared yesterday following tests at Kemri, which came out negative. The man is said to have eaten contaminated meat from a goat that had been rescued from a python.

Separately, panic gripped Eldoret’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital on Thursday morning after a patient exhibiting symptoms of Ebola sought treatment.

Acting director John Kibosia said the patient had fever and traces of blood in his urine and stool.

“The patient had clear symptoms of the haemorrhagic fever. We are still treating it as a suspected case but we have isolated the patient in a special wing to ensure that he doesn’t get in contact with others,” said Dr Kibosia.

According to the relatives, the 20-year-old man had recently travelled to Juba through Uganda.

Reported by John Njagi, Samuel Koech, Raphael Wanjala and Caroline Wafula

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