HIGH ALERT

Surveillance heightened at Isebania after Tanzania Ebola scare

Travellers from Burundi, Rwanda and Congo also put on high alert, undergo thorough screening

In Summary

• Screening has, however, been hampered by poor surveillance and a high number of travellers. More than 400 are recorded daily at border-point.  

• A WHO report said Tanzania ‘refused’ to share the results of its investigations into the number of patients with Ebola-like symptoms. 

Asian tourists head to Tanzania at Isebania border post
HEALTH TEAMS VIGILANT: Asian tourists head to Tanzania at Isebania border post
Image: MANUEL ODENY

Health officials have intensified Ebola screening for travellers at Isebania border post in Migori county after possible cases were reported in Tanzania.

On Monday, a disease surveillance team manning the one-spot border point said they were on high alert following a report by the World Health Organization.

Samuel Juma, a cross-border disease surveillance coordinator, said travellers from Burundi, Rwanda and Congo are also put on high alert.

“We can’t take any chances. Kenya has porous borders and we are also carrying out health sensitisation campaigns among communities in the area,” Juma said.

He added that they have “heightened our cross-border surveillance following the scare as most of the travellers come from Tanzania".

The screening exercise has, however, been hampered by a high number of travellers. More than 400 travellers are recorded at the point daily.

Alloys Mwita, a health official stationed at the border, said they are struggling to maintain vigilance. 

Last Sunday, WHO issued an unusual statement raising questions as to whether Tanzania is covering up possible cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. 

The report says that the Tanzanian government, despite several requests from WHO ‘refused’ to share the results of its investigations into the number of patients with Ebola-like symptoms.

The Tanzanian government also reportedly refused to ship patient samples to an outside WHO partner lab.

It is yet to give an official comment on a case that would be the first-ever infection confirmed in the country, WHO said. 

In June, the government said there were no Ebola cases in the country after a patient was reportedly said to have contracted the disease in Kericho.

Edited by R.Wamochie