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Kenya on high alert after suspected Ebola case in Kericho

Monday June 17 2019

Busia Ebola screening

Travellers are screened for the Ebola virus before getting into Kenya at the Busia One Stop Border Post on June 12, 2019, following three confirmed cases in Kasese, western Uganda. PHOTO | GAITANO PESSA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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By NATION TEAM
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Health authorities in Kericho County are on a red alert over a suspected case of Ebola.

This was after a patient exhibited suspected symptoms of the haemorrhagic fever at Kericho County Referral Hospital.

County officials on Monday said the woman had travelled from Malaba, a town in Busia County on the border of Kenya and Uganda, to see her spouse.

PUFFY FACE

She was initially admitted at Siloam Hospital before being transferred to Kericho County Referral Hospital.

"A female patient presented at our facility today with complaints of headache, hotness of the body, puffy face, some diarrhoea, and nausea of acute onset,” said Ms Margaret Okirio, the administrator at Siloam Hospital.

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“On further interrogation, she admitted to having travelled from Malaba where she alleges to reside to see her husband who works in Kericho.”

Ms Okirio said they transferred the patient, acting on Health ministry’s alert on Ebola  that requires  all medical facilities in Kenya and the public to report any medical cases with symptoms of the fever.

"This patient needed close and further elaborate investigations while under appropriate isolation requirements till diagnosed for targeted treatment to be given,” she said.

“The hospital clinical team also went ahead to consult and seek further guidance from the county surveillance team, who advised to have the patient transferred to the county referral hospital for further management while on isolation. Once the appropriate preparations had been done.”

The hitherto unidentified patient was admitted to Kericho County Referral Hospital on Sunday and was immediately put in isolation.

“The county disease surveillance team immediately took over the matter and took all the necessary precautions to ensure that there was minimal contact between the patient and other persons at the hospital including the staff and the other hospital users,” the county government said in a statement.

“The county Department of Health Services is monitoring this potential case very closely and is working with the National Government to ensure that all essential procedures are followed to protect public health and safety.”

UGANDA

Blood samples from the patient were sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Nairobi for further analysis.

“The preliminary test results are expected to be ready within the next 12 to 24 hours,” the statement read in part.

“Kindly note that no visits will be allowed into the isolation room.”

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

Kenya has not 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 2014-2016, 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.

On Friday, 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".

Report by Harry Misiko, Anita Chepkoech, Vitalis Kimutai and AFP.