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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 11:52 GMT
Kenya moves to halt Ebola spread
Ebola virus
The Ebola virus is one of the world's most deadly
Kenya has set up screening centres on its borders with Uganda following an outbreak of the Ebola virus which has killed about 20 people.

The highly infectious virus has killed two health workers in western Uganda, where the outbreak was first reported.

Dr James Nyikal, the head of medical services in Kenya, said they are screening people entering the country and all facilities are on alert.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which is fatal in around 80% of cases.

Health authorities in Uganda say some 91 people have been infected with the current strain of the virus and experts from United States are helping to counter its spread.

Crisis

"The sad news is that our doctor and a senior clinical officer who were in critical condition have died at Mulago hospital in Kampala," Samuel Kazinga, the Bundibugyo district commissioner said.

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Bundibugyo district is the most affected region - so far 36 people are still in local health centres.

"We are facing a crisis, health workers are scared and the morale is low, there is a very big shortage of nurses," Bundibugyo MP Jane Alisemera, told the Associated Press news agency.

Media reports say the doctors contracted the virus due to a lack of safety equipment.

Some health workers have threatened to go on strike unless they are paid risk allowances and provided with adequate protective gear.

Cholera

Ugandan health officials originally suspected that the Marburg virus was responsible for the deaths, before it was confirmed as Ebola.

The virus is thought to be transmitted through the consumption of infected bush meat and can also be spread by contact with the blood secretions of infected people.

Some 174 people have died in DR Congo of a virus this year but only 13 of these have been confirmed as having Ebola.

Uganda's health ministry has also deployed medics to the north-west to control outbreaks of cholera, meningitis and bubonic plague.

Health Minister Emmanuel Otaala said they were battling with plague and meningitis in West Nile and Arua districts, while cholera had broken out in the northern Nebbi district.

Aid agencies, which include World Vision and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), have set up makeshift health centres to ease the pressure on government health facilities.

SEE ALSO
Uganda confirms 16 Ebola deaths
29 Nov 07 |  Africa
Ebola and other tropical viruses
08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes
Vaccine hope for deadly disease
28 Apr 06 |  Health
Ebola 'kills over 5,000 gorillas'
08 Dec 06 |  Science/Nature

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