BY DR NICHOLAS MURAGURI
The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa
where 673 patients have been reported dead and 1202 infected as at 30th July 2014.
The risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct
contact with body fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva. Health
workers and family members who may come into direct contact with body fluids of
patients suffering from Ebola are at the highest risk of being infected. Ebola can’t be
spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air. Therefore the risk
to travelers and people working in affected countries of contracting Ebola is very low.
As precautionary measure the Ministry of Health has alerted Health workers about
the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and has advised them to remain vigilant for
unexplained illness in those who have visited the affected areas. We have also
stepped up surveillance at all ports of entry and this will enable prompt detection,
notification and appropriate management of any suspected cases in the country.
Over the years, Kenya built its capacity to respond to threats caused by emerging
infectious diseases such as Ebola. The Ministry of Health has established a Disease
Surveillance/rapid response team and laboratory capacity to diagnose all
hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola. We are therefore well-prepared to identify and
deal with any potential cases of Ebola within 24 hours.
The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health do not recommend
any travel or trade restrictions be applied to the affected West African
countries based on the current information available about the Ebola outbreak.
We shall keep Kenyans updated about the outbreak and any additional measures
(Dr Nicholas Muraguri is the Director of Medical Services)