Kenya deploys veterans of W. Africa Ebola battle to boost surveillance


Kenya deploys veterans of W. Africa Ebola battle to boost surveillance

Sicily Kariuki
Health Secretary Sicily Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A team of Kenyan health workers who battled Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been deployed to border points in an effort to boost screening and surveillance, even as test results showed a patient earlier isolated in a Kericho hospital did not have the haemorhagic fever.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said that the 21 workers who battled Ebola in West Africa will be champions on a team of 242 deployed at all border and entry points, including airports, to guard against the deadly disease.

The team is expected to increase surveillance through screening of travellers using thermo scanners and hand-held thermo guns.

“The ministry has a total workforce of 221 staff deployed at various ports of entry and in addition 21 Ebola champions have been deployed to support the team,” Ms Kariuki said.

Kenya has been on high alert since last week after Uganda reported two deaths from Ebola that had spread from eastern Congo where the latest outbreak has caused more than 1,400 deaths since August.

The 36-year-old Kericho woman had been isolated after being observed with headache, fever and vomiting, turned negative.

“The rapid surveillance and response team has examined the patient who is in stable condition and has confirmed that she does not meet the case definition for Ebola,” she said.

The Ugandan cases raised concerns that the epidemic was likely to spread further and kill many more people.

This is the first time Ebola has crossed the DRC into Uganda since the outbreak was declared a year ago.