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20 counties at risk as Ebola virus cases surge in Uganda

The Ministry of Health has placed 20 counties on high alert for Ebola virus infection as cases in Kenya’s western neighbor Uganda rise.

Acting Health Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth stated on Tuesday that the counties of Busia, Nakuru, Kiambu, Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni, Taita taveta, Mombasa, Kwale, and Kericho are at risk of infection with the virus that emerged in Uganda on September 19.

Bungoma, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Turkana, and Uasin Gishu were also placed on high alert.

Dr. Amoth also mentioned the risk of the Ebola virus spreading to Kenya as a result of the massive human traffic between Kenya and Uganda via the Busia and Malaba ground crossing points.

He singled out the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa international airports, as well as the heavy population of Ugandan citizens in Nairobi, Kajiado and Kakuma as possible risk factors.

“Owing to these risks, Kenya needs to implement effective measures to prevent the Ebola virus outbreak spreading into the country, including stepping up surveillance for detection and preparedness for appropriate response,” Dr. Amoth said.

As a precaution measure, the Health Ministry also urged Kenyans to be vigilant on such signs and symptoms of Ebola as high fever, vomiting, cough, chest pain, diarrhoea, measles-like rash and bleeding from body openings.

“​​Members of the public are advised to adhere to preventive public health measures such as handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing. Avoid touching or burial of dead bodies that have died of unknown causes unless confirmed by health authorities, and avoid contact or eating bush meat especially from monkeys, bats, baboons, gorillas and chimpanzees,” added Amoth.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Friday announced that four more Ebola cases have been confirmed, taking the total number of cases to 11.

The ministry also said three people succumbed to the disease, raising the number of cumulative fatalities to 11 as well

The Ebola virus enters the body through contact with infected blood, urine, faeces, semen or other bodily fluids within an incubation period of 2-21 days.

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