Kenya Should Prepare for Ebola, says Health Officials

NAIROBI, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014(CISA)

US health officials fighting the Ebola outbreak in Africa have urged countries not affected by the deadly virus including Kenya to prepare for possible outbreaks.

“Every country, including Kenya, should be prepared for that first case,” said Dr Tom Kenyon, director of the Global Health Centre at the US Centres for Disease Control, reported The Nation Newspaper.

Dr Kenyon was speaking at a news conference in Nairobi on Wednesday, September 3 where he reiterated the urgency of putting a rapid-response team in place before the virus spreads further.

Ebola “is likely to spread to other countries,” Dr Kenyon said adding as the virus moves beyond West Africa, “there is the possibility of mutation that can make it more infectious or change its characteristics to make it more difficult to control.”

“Don’t wait until the first case arrives, it will be too late,” he warned.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) “more than 1,900” have since died in the West Africa outbreak and the health agency has warned that the death toll, which is centred on Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, was still growing fast.

“The current west African Ebola outbreak is unprecedented in size, complexity and the strain it has imposed on health systems,” the WHO said in a statement.

“The outbreak is rising,” WHO Chief Margaret Chan told reporters in Washington on Wednesday September 3, reported AFP.

“Many deaths are in the community and are not being reported. It is estimated that there are two to four times as many people infected with Ebola as reported,” said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.

At least 30 more people have died in a separate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo according to WHO.

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