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China Daily Website

Kenya rules out outbreak of Ebola in Kenya

Updated: 2012-07-31 09:20

Kenya's health officials have dismissed fears of a possible outbreak of Ebola in the East African nation after 13 people died and seven more cases have been diagnosed in neighbouring Uganda last week.

Public Health Director in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Shanhaz Sharrif assured Kenyans that all systems have been put in place to avert any outbreak of the deadly diseases in Kenya.

"We are well prepared. We have put all systems in place to avert any outbreak of Ebola disease in the country. Kenyans are free to travel to Uganda and come back without worrying," Sharrif told Xinhua by telephone on Monday in Nairobi.

Shariff's remarks come after the an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever Ebola was confirmed in Kibaale district of Western Uganda by the ministry of health, killing 13 people and more than 7 other cases having been diagnosed.

Kibaale district has a total population of about 646,700 people and is located at around 200 kilometres west of the Ugandan capital Kampala, and around 50 kilometers from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We wish to assure Kenyans that there is no cause for alarm. We are well prepared to deal with Ebola or any other haemorrhagic fever virus infection. Kenyans are no fear and should go about their business as usual," Sharrif said.

Fears gripped Kenya in November last year after a hotel vegetable supplier died of suspected Ebola attack at the largest referral hospital in Nairobi where she had been rushed for emergency treatment.

The country's top physician later announced that the 29 year- old Gladys Muthoni who died at the Kenyatta National Hospital in November 2011, tested negative to the Ebola Virus and urged the public not to panic as there was no case of Ebola in the country.

People crossing the border to Kenya from Uganda are have been required to go for thorough screening to curb a spread of the deadly disease.

The Uganda Red Cross is part of the National Emergency Taskforce that has been set up by the Ministry of Health to stop the disease from spreading more widely.

The Red Cross has mobilized volunteers and staff who are ready to support with case tracking and community awareness.

There is no treatment or vaccine against Ebola, one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind. It is transmitted by close personal contact and, depending on the strain, kills up to 90 percent of those who contract the virus.

There have been several Ebola outbreaks recorded in the East African nation since the first one in 2000, leaving many people killed and much more traumatized.

Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Kampala is coordinating needs assessments and response efforts aimed at containing the outbreak.