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KNH admits patient with flu signs

BUSINESS
By | Jul 2nd 2009 | 3 min read
By | July 2nd 2009
BUSINESS

By Peter Orengo

One more patient suspected to have the highly contagious H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu) was Wednesday admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The female patient, who is Kenyan, is said to have arrived in the country from India and was screened at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

It was not clear what the outcome of the first screening was but on Tuesday evening, her family members rushed her to KNH after she complained of a fever.

Sources told The Standard the patient was first put in an isolation room to await tests. Her family members were also quarantined since they were in contact with the patient for long hours.

Yesterday panic gripped the hospital prompting authorities to provide protective masks to all patients, doctors and visitors.

Breathing masks

Journalists who visited the hospital, were first issued with the breathing masks as they waited to talk to officials, who were locked in an emergency meeting for more than five hours.

Dr Anderson Irimu, Head of Respiratory Disease Department at KNH said the patient was not seriously ill, but samples had been taken to Kemri for tests.

"The woman came to us following advice from the airport authority. This does not mean she has the H1NI virus. But we have put her in seclusion as we await test results," Irimu said.

"She said she felt feverish. But our primary findings did not find any fever," he added.

He also confirmed the family was advised not to interact with others for seven days.

Irimu advised Kenyans not to panic any time they had symptoms that resemble those of Swine Flu, as they could be for the common cold associated with this season.

Fears have been rife since Saturday when a 20-year-old Kenyan woman, who studies in London, visited a private health clinic in Nairobi on Friday displaying symptoms of H1N1 flu. However, test results proved negative for the virus.

But on Monday, Public Health Minister Beth Mugo confirmed the first case of the disease from one of 33 foreign students touring the country.

The World Health Organisation last month donated drugs worth Sh61 million to the Public Health Ministry to treat Swine Flu, if it struck.

Public Health PS Mark Bor, who received the drugs, said the consignment was enough to treat more than 50,000 patients.

Yesterday doctors at KNH confirmed the Government had received the Swine Flu medicine, Tamiflu.

One doctor said Tamiflu could reduce the severity of the disease. To be effective, the medicine should be taken within 48 hours of falling sick.

The BBC reported that a patient with H1N1 influenza in Denmark showed resistance to Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug used to treat patients and probable cases.

Irimu also said the hospital would educate staff on how to handle suspected cases.

"We have those carrying out research mobilisation and information education and communication."

"We ask Kenyans to adhere to basic health requirements for control, including washing of hands, use of tissue and handkerchiefs when sneezing and coughing," he added.

So far, 38 countries have been affected with the H1N1 Swine flu.

It is a contagious respiratory disease caused by one of the influenza viruses, which causes a mild and moderate disease and spreads from person to person.

Someone with H1N1 flu feels like he has a common cold with fever, cough, sneeze and sore throat being the most common signs.

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