NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – Kenya declared a high Ebola alert on Monday in provinces that border Uganda, after an outbreak of the disease was confirmed in Kampala.
The Head of Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Public Health Willis Akhwale said they had instructed Provincial Directors of Health and District Medical Officers in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces to immediately report any suspicious cases.
“We will issue the health workers in these areas with personal protective clothing for them to effectively handle any suspicious case,” he told Capital FM News.
He added that the ministry was still gathering more information on the Uganda outbreak and further decisions will be made as information is gathered.
Earlier, the Director of Public Health Dr Shahnaz Sharif told Capital FM News that Kenya would not advise its citizens against travelling to Uganda following the outbreak.
He said Ebola was not airborne and at the moment there was no serious risk. He further said all measures were in place to deal with it in case there is an outbreak in Kenya.
“We are not issuing any advisory for people travelling to Uganda. Everything is under control. If there is anything occurring, we can explore the disease within a short time. We have lab facilities to do so, nothing to worry about… you should relax.”
Reports from Kampala said doctors and health workers involved in handling the known cases had already been quarantined.
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni on Monday warned against any form of physical contact after victims were reported in the capital Kampala for the first time.
“The Ministry of Health are tracing all the people who have had contact with the victims,” Museveni said in a state broadcast, adding that 14 people had died in total since Ebola broke out in western Uganda three weeks ago.
Two cases have since been reported in the capital, with one victim reported dead in Kampala’s Mulago Hospital, he said, calling on people not to shake hands to avoid the spread of the killer virus.
“Ebola spreads by contact when you contact each other physically… avoid shaking of hands, because that can cause contact through sweat, which can cause problems,” Museveni said.
In May last year, the Ebola virus killed a 12-year-old girl in Uganda prompting the Health Ministry in Kenya to issue an alert on people living at the border.
Ebola is a viral haemorrhagic fever and one of the most dangerous viral diseases known to humankind.
There is no known treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which is transmitted through close personal contact. It kills up to 90 percent of victims.
Its initial symptoms include persistent fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat which is usually followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes on the body as well as external bleeding.