Fear of Ebola outbreak in Siaya

By Standard Digital Reporter and Ally Jamah

There is fear that the Ebola outbreak in Uganda has spread to Kenya with Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale claiming that a case has been reported in Siaya.

Khalwale demanded a ministerial statement on the issue saying Kenyan needed to be alerted.

“We have received a media alert that a case of Ebola has been reported in Siaya,” the MP told parliament on Wednesday.

Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende directed the Minister for Public Health to give a statement on the issue on Thursday afternoon saying the matter of great public interest

Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases in the world and is spread by close personal contact.

There is no vaccine for the virus whose symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, headache, vomiting and kidney problems.

At the same time the government has formed a national taskforce to respond to a possible outbreak in the country as the deadly Ebola virus continues to sweep through Uganda, raising fears of spreading to Kenya.

Director of Public Health Dr. Shahnaaz Sharrif announced the taskforce on Wednesday saying that all health workers in the country have been put on high alert.

“The Taskforce will monitor the situation and advise the government on Ebola. Similar committees have been formed at the border districts with Uganda,” he said.

In a raft of measures meant to secure the country and reassure a jittery public scared over the possible spread of the hemorrhagic disease, Dr. Sharriff said that relevant labs at the Kenya Institute of Medical research (KEMRI) have been made ready or rapid Ebola tests.

“All facilities have been provided with contingency drugs and isolation facilities have been set up in high risk facilities,” he said.

However the Ministry is against mass screenings of travellers crossing over from Uganda saying they will only focus on a massive public campaign to ensure those with Ebola symptoms report urgently for medical examination.

“Surveillance at the ports of entry has been strengthened and any suspected cases are being handled accordingly,” he said.

He added: “The government is conducting sensitisation trainings of the health workers in high-risk facilities. The trainings involve surveillance, case investigation, management and infection prevention and control.”

A statement from the Ministry indicated that personal protective equipment have been sent out to all health facilities in high risk of Ebola, with more of the same being procured by the government.

An outbreak of Ebola was reported in Uganda three weeks ago and has so far killed 14 people.

One case was reported in Kampala with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni urging citizens to avoid body contact to prevent the spread of the disease.