Uganda grapples with rumors amid efforts to contain Ebola outbreak

Henrietta Brewer
June 18, 2019

"The result of the tests carried out by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) laboratories on the blood samples from the 36-year-old lady who is now admitted in the isolation unit at the Kericho County Referral Hospital have been confirmed to be negative for Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) and other Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers", ascertained a statement by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.

Uganda officials have suspended mass gatherings in the Kasese district where cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been recorded.

Kenya sought to reassure the public and foreign visitors on Monday after a suspected Ebola case, which turned out to be negative, was detected near the border with Uganda.

"The patient does not meet the case definition of Ebola however, precautionary measures have been put in place including isolation of the patient", CS Kariuki stated.

Results from Kenya Medical Research Services (Kemri), which is testing blood samples from the woman, are expected to be ready within the next 12 to 24 hours.

Kariuki had earlier in the day conducted an inspection tour at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to ascertain the facility's preparedness to screen arriving passengers.

"It is important to note that the symptoms that have been exhibited by the patient can be indicative of any other medical condition and so there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Kericho at the moment", the county's head of communication Timothy Kemei said.

The outbreak in eastern Congo has killed more than 1,400 people since August and last week it spread to neighboring Uganda where two people died.

President Museveni said after meeting with World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Entebbe on Monday that the situation had been contained.

The two victims in Uganda were part of a Congolese-Ugandan family who are believed to have contracted the disease at a funeral in Congo that was attended by dozens of people.

"For an outbreak to be declared a global emergency, it must represent a risk to other countries and need a united response".

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Ebola dashboard, the outbreak total now stands at 2,168 cases.

"I pledge my support to ensure that this outbreak is contained", Ghebreyesus added.

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo: What is the virus, how does it spread and am I at risk?

"It was the view of the committee that the outbreak is a health emergency in DRC and the region, but does not meet the criteria for a public health emergency of worldwide concern", the United Nations health agency's expert committee said in a statement.

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