The Ministry of Health has flagged 20 counties in Kenya that are at a high risk of contracting the deadly Ebola virus that is currently spreading at a worrying rate in neighbouring Uganda.
Acting Health Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth has stated that residents in the counties of Busia, Bungoma, Siaya, Kisumu, West Pokot, Turkana, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni, Taita taveta, Mombasa, Kwale, and Kericho are at risk of getting the highly infectious virus.
Other counties including Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Migori, Homa Bay, Trans Nzoia, and Uasin Gishu have also been placed on high alert.
The risk of the Ebola virus spreading to Kenya, according to Dr Amoth, is attributable to the massive human traffic between Kenya and Uganda via the Busia and Malaba ground crossing points.
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 are also possible risk factors.
As a precaution, the Health Ministry is urging Kenyans to be vigilant on signs and symptoms of Ebola such 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 hand-washing, 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 Dr Amoth.
This comes amid health workers in Uganda’s Ebola epicentre going on strike over safety fears, accusing the government of putting their lives at risk.
A number of doctors, pharmacists and nurses have announced their decision to strike in a joint statement decrying the lack of appropriate safety kits, risk allowances and health insurance.
The latest data by Uganda’s Ministry of Health shows that the cumulative cases of Ebola in Uganda have hit 36 with the death toll at 23.