County takes measures to fight Marburg

Monday November 6 2017

Marburg

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba addresses a gathering during the flagging off of trailers carrying fertilizer, on March 21, 2016. The county is investigating a suspected case of Marburg virus. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GERALD BWISA
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New measures have been put in place in Trans Nzoia County to fight Marburg virus.

Through a programme known as Disease Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC), the Kitale County Referral Hospital has been selected as a pilot hospital to assess how the highly infectious disease can be managed.

Marburg is classified under haemorrhagic fevers that include Ebola, Brucellosis, dengue and anthrax, among others.

DISEASE SCARE
The Kitale County Hospital superintendent, Dr Emmanuel Wanjala, said the programme is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Centres for Diseases Control (CDC) Atlanta, CDC Kenya and the Kenya Medical Research Institute, which are collaborating on the IPC programme.

“Apart from Trans Nzoia, the only other hospital selected in Kenya for the pilot programme is Thika Level Five,” Dr Wanjala said.

This comes after a Marburg scare last week when a Ugandan who visited a Kenyan herbalist for treatment died.

The herbalist and her family are under watch by medics.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Samples taken to Kemri tested negative, but Dr Wanjala said the virus has an incubation period of up to 21 days.

“It is critical to prevent the spread of the disease, which can attack another person through contact with body fluids of the affected person,” he noted.

Dr Wanjala said the six ways to help curb its spread include hand hygiene, proper patient isolation, wearing protective clothing, proper disposal of used needles and syringes, correct disposal of medical and human wastes and safe burial practices.

TREATMENT
According to Dr Wanjala, the IPC programme addresses the above areas, where medics will be trained alongside improvement of hospital facilities and training community members, which will help in managing such diseases.

“Dangerous diseases like Brucellosis, anthrax, Marburg, dengue and Ebola are handled differently when it comes to treatment, that is why the programme targets them,” he added.

For the suspected outbreak, county director of preventive and promotive health services Gilbert Sowon said they received 2,400 personal protective equipment for use by health officials when handling patients.