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Officials declare Kenya Ebola-free as 3 people test negative

Thursday June 20 2019

Sicily Kariuki

Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki speaks to journalists in Nairobi on June 17, 2019. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP 

ELIZABETH MERAB
By ELIZABETH MERAB
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Doctors have given a clean bill of health to three people earlier suspected to have Ebola.

Results of blood works of the three people who had been placed under quarantine for suspicion that they could be having the haemorrhagic fever came back negative, with experts further assuring Kenyans that the country is Ebola-free.

The three had been isolated at Kericho County Referral Hospital after coming into contact with a 36-year-old woman who had exhibited symptoms similar to those of Ebola fever, but also tested negative.

She had travelled from Malaba, a town in Busia County on the border of Kenya and Uganda to see her spouse who was among the three isolated. The other two who had assisted him to take her to the hospital were tested despite not showing symptoms of the disease.

“All the tests came back negative,” said a health officer who requested anonymity.

The samples were tested at Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Kisumu for analysis.

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On Monday, the Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki allayed fears of an Ebola and advised the country not to panic.

To further boost the level of preparedness, the Health ministry has deployed special teams of health workers to the country's entry points.

Speaking during she toured the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Ms Kariuki said that although there have no confirmed cases of Ebola, health workers are on high alert.

Ebola is often fatal and causes vomiting, diarrhoea, internal and external bleeding. It also impairs kidney and liver functions.

Kenya has never had an Ebola case before.

The current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, killing more than 11,300 people.

It has spread to Uganda, where two family members a woman and her five-year-old grandson died of Ebola last week after travelling to the DRC to take care of a dying family member and attend the funeral.

The boy's brother, aged three, is also infected, and several family members are in isolation.

Last week, the World Health Organisation said the outbreak does not yet warrant being declared a "public health emergency of international concern", meaning it would require a "coordinated international response".