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Govt rules out Ebola after two suspected cases turn negative

05 September 2014, 08:11

Nairobi - Health authorities on Thursday ruled out an outbreak of Ebola virus in the country after tests conducted on two suspected patients in Nairobi and Nakuru turned negative.

Director of Medial Services Nicholas Muraguri said tests on suspected patient at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport turned negative and assured Kenyans that medical personnel are on high alert to ensure safety.

Also read: Ebola scare at JKIA

The assurance comes after a patient was isolated on Wednesday night when reports claimed there was a passenger with Ebola inside Kenya Airways plane from DR Congo.

The Kenya Airways Flight 550 from Lubumbashi landed at JKIA at 6.45 p.m., causing panic. The flight crew alerted officials from the Ministry of Health about the male passenger who had vomited in the aircraft while mid-air.

"Emergency teams comprising Ebola experts were immediately put together to receive the aircraft. However, tests on the suspected case had turned negative," Muraguri said.

Muraguri added that the tests showed that the man had suffered from food poisoning that led to vomiting. The health chief said that all passengers went through normal medical check ups.

The Ministry of Health assured Kenyans that there was no need for panic, as no case of Ebola had been confirmed in the country.

Meanwhile, doctors have also ruled out the Ebola virus in a case where a 10-year-old Liberian boy is admitted at a hospital in Nakuru, about 180 km southwest of Nairobi, with fever-like symptoms.

Nakuru County Chief Officer for Health Samwel Mwaura said the pupil, and the nurse who first attended to him, were immediately placed under quarantine on Wednesday night, pending the results of a test which was forwarded to Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Nairobi.

Mwaura revealed that the tests conducted were both negative. The results followed a night of panic among many at various hospitals and the school after reports of the spread of the virus.

"The fears came from the fact that the country is on high alert. When doctors at the first hospital were told he was in the country, having arrived from Liberia a few days earlier, they referred him for a test," said one of the teachers who sought anonymity.

The teacher also said that the school was on high alert. "We held talks with medics to know whether there was any risk. Several boys who had interacted with the sick child since his arrival on Monday were under observation for any similar symptoms. None have recorded fever," she said.

The doctors said the boy and his mother had arrived in the country nine days before through Burundi after Kenya Airways suspended direct flights from some West Africa locations.

Also read: Ebola screening centre launched at Kenya-Uganda border

The health ministry in August released a contingency plan that will guide health institutions in the country on what to do if the dreaded Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) spreads into the country.

The contingency plan is meant to serve as a guide to EVD prevention, preparedness and response for the country after the disease broke out in West Africa, a region closely linked to Kenya through frequent flights.

The flow of travellers from the West African countries into Kenya is one of the risk factors for an EVD outbreak in the country, according to the contingency plan.

 - Xinhua

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