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Travelers’ screening intensified following Ebola alert

01 August 2012, 18:45 Samuel Kisika

Travelers entering Kenya through the Busia-Uganda border have been subjected to thorough cross examination following confirmed cases of Ebola outbreak in Midwestern Uganda.
Dennis Wekesa, a public health officer in charge of the Frontier Health Office at the border told KNA today that they have intensified the screening exercise of passengers particularly those from the affected areas of Kibaale District and Kampala in Uganda.
He said the health department is working closely with the stakeholders including the immigration department and various security agencies at the border to ensure the exercise is a success.
“We are working together as a team to make sure that we screen easily individuals entering the country through this border following the Ebola outbreak in our neighboring country,” said Wekesa.
He added that, “since we started the screening exercise a few days ago, we have not heard any case reported or anybody complaining of the sickness from this area.”
Busia acting DC, John Maingi held that though no case of Ebola is yet to be reported, area residents especially those with relatives across the border should remain vigilant in observing their family members on the symptoms of the disease.
He however urged security agencies in the area to be vigilant by ensuring that all visitors entering the country use the official entry point.
“We must be alert to ensure the illegal routes are not used by people from the neighboring country,” said the acting DC.
Nursing officer in charge of the Busia District Hospital, Margaret Atelu said that they have secluded a ward with 3 beds and 2 nurses are on standby to attend to any patient with hemorrhagic fever symptoms.
She added that they have been provided with enough, required health equipment like gloves and the IV fluids, and would call for more if there need be.
“In case of any outbreak within Busia there will be a definite need for more staff trained to handle emergency cases,” said Atelu. 
Subsequently, the Teso District Medical Officer of Health Dr. Melisa Lutomia has revealed that  that the number of medical staff attached to the frontier office has been doubled for easy day and night shifts.
“We are carrying out this preventive measure because Malaba is a border town that provides an entry and exit point for travelers within East Africa. Ebola is a deadly disease and the Ministry of Health should not distance itself from controlling the spread,” she said.
 She asked the public to prioritize their health and avoid habits like shaking hands or coming into contact with blood and bodily fluids from other persons which may lead to contracting the deadly virus.
She further called on the regional Ministry of Immigration to ensure travelers are thoroughly screened before crossing the border.

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