Kenya steps up vigilance to prevent Ebola transmission

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NAIROBI, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Ministry of Health said Wednesday that it had intensified surveillance to prevent transmission of the Ebola virus after cases were reported in neighboring Uganda.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health, said at a briefing in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, that critical personnel had been deployed at the Ugandan border in western Kenya to help identify potential cases.

"I call on members of the public to take heightened precaution while visiting Uganda as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)," said Kagwe, stressing that the Ministry of Health has activated rapid response teams to support the identification of any suspected cases and report them promptly.

Kagwe said that populations that are at risk of contracting the virus such as travelers, truck drivers, bushmeat handlers, and health care workers will be screened thoroughly.

According to Ugandan authorities, an Ebola case has been detected in Ngabano village, Mubende district in the central part of the country, and a 24-year-old male patient has already succumbed to the highly contagious hemorrhagic fever.

Kagwe called upon members of the public to watch out for any person with a history of traveling to Uganda and DRC presenting with acute fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, and sore throat.

He said efforts are ongoing to sensitize communities and help identify suspected cases besides mobilizing key stakeholders to initiate prevention, preparedness, and response measures alongside the development of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) contingency plan.

The Kenyan official disclosed that Kenya received an alert from Uganda's Ministry of Health urging the country to take precautions.

Kagwe warned the possibility of local communities contracting the Ebola virus was high given the intensive human traffic through road, air, and water between the two countries linked to trade and social activities. Enditem

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