Ebola Panic Spreads as First Patient Tested in East Africa Since 2012

Uganda is investigating the possibility that one of its citizens has the Ebola virus that has been sweeping through West Africa. A Uganda health ministry spokesperson said, “There is a suspected case, samples have been taken from the suspect, and we are analyzing them.”

Uganda’s finding marks the first time a patient with Ebola-like symptoms has been tested in East Africa since 2012. Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper said airport officials stopped the individual as he was showing symptoms of the virus. The unidentified man had reportedly been employed in South Sudan, where no documented cases of Ebola have surfaced as of yet.

Kenyan officials said Friday that previous claims that an Ebola-stricken passenger had boarded a flight on their national airline were untrue. The Kenyan ministry of health said, “Today, the crew onboard KQ 509 coming from West Africa alerted our team at the airport about a sick person on board. We responded immediately by instructing the aircraft be isolated upon landing.” 

The official said that paramedics thoroughly screened each passenger for the virus. “It was discovered that the person was suffering from hypertension, diabetes and a stroke and did not have signs of infectious disease,” said the health ministry spokesman.

Kenya has ramped up the intensity of inspections on incoming flights from countries where the virus is most prevalent – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. “I confirm to all Kenyans that no case of Ebola has been detected in the country, and we shall continue to be vigilant to ensure this state is maintained,” said the spokesperson.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola to be an international health emergency. As of Friday the virus has infected at least 1,779, while killing almost a thousand.

A WHO official said Friday, “The possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries. A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.”


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