By Maureen Odiwuor
Panic gripped Siaya County and its environs after a man suspected to have consumed the carcass of a goat bitten by a cobra developed symptoms similar to Ebola. Residents avoided any contact with him before he was quarantined.
The bizarre incident took place two weeks ago, when the 27-year-old man went to Siaya District Hospital to see a dentist. But what had been envisaged as an ordinary tooth extraction raised alarm as his gums started bleeding excessively.
His condition forced the doctors examining him to give him special attention. The man, sensing all is not well, informed the doctors that he also had a blood clot in his urine and stool.
The news of his condition spread fast in hospital and fear engulfed it due to proximity to neighbouring Uganda where the Ebola outbreak had been reported. Soon, doctors started treating the patient specially.
Medical personnel at the institution and the provincial headquarters in Kisumu were put on high alert. The patient was isolated him from other patients and his blood samples taken to KEMRI in Nairobi for analysis. But the results returned negative. The Nyanza Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation Services, Dr Jackson Kioko, said the patient was out of danger and could be managed at home.
He said medical personnel took swift action immediately the patient started over bleeding. “I must commend the health officers at the hospital for acting with speed. They isolated the man and took samples, which were sent to Kemri’s laboratory in Nairobi. This clearly shows that the officers are on high alert and can pick cases early enough,” he told Crazy Monday.
The man, whose identity was not disclosed, is said to have found the goat dead after it was bitten by a cobra. He feasted on the meat with several others who did not have similar symptoms.
A nursing officer in-charge of the hospital, James Okoth, said the man was put on antibiotics and was responding well to treatment.