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Panic in Eldoret as man is admitted with Ebola symptoms

By TITUS TOO

Panic gripped Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Eldoret (MTRH) on Thursday when a patient was admitted with symptoms of viral disease, Ebola.

The patient who had travelled from Juba in Southern Sudan through Uganda to Eldoret was put in isolation as doctors attending to him put on protective gear to avoid possible infections.

As word went round that a suspected Ebola case has been received, more protective masks were provided as some staff around the casualty area of the hospital avoided handshakes.

The patient’s relatives however said the patient had been sickly for about three weeks in Southern Sudan and that they had decided that he travels for medication at MTRH Eldoret.

On Monday MTRH Director Dr John Kibosia, said the patient had fever and was bleeding while passing urine and diarrhoea.

He said the hospital was taking precautions by putting him in specialised isolation as blood samples from the patient are sent to Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) to ascertain his condition.

“As for now, we are treating it as haemorrhagic fever as we await tests result from Kemri. But since he was in Uganda where Ebola has been reported, we do not want to take chances,” said Dr Kibosia.

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.

On Wednesday, there was a scare of the disease in Siaya after a man was admitted with symptoms.

The Government has already formed a national task force to avert a possible spread of Ebola from Uganda where it has killed 17 people since an outbreak was reported three weeks ago.

Director of Public Health Dr Shahnaaz Sharrif announced the formation of the team on Wednesday, adding that all health workers have been put on high alert.

“The task force will monitor the situation and advise the Government. Similar committees have been formed at the border districts,” he said.

Dr Sharrif said relevant labs have been put up at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) to undertake rapid Ebola tests.

The Minister of Public Health is expected to give a statement in parliament Thursday afternoon on the situation after the report of the disease in Siaya.