•Scientists said just like the coronavirus, the situation needed close monitoring as people might be having little or no immunity to the virus.
•The pathogen is carried by pigs and has the ability to be transmitted to humans.
The Health ministry is on high alert over reports that a new strain of swine flu has been identified in China.
According to scientists, the pathogen is carried by pigs and can be transmitted to humans.
Of concern is that the pathogen is predicted to mutate easily thus it could spread fast and cause a global pandemic.
“Any time there is a pathogen that is deemed to be of pandemic level, of course, it is a concern not only to Kenya but any country across the globe,” Health CAS Rashid Aman said.
“Here we are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We had swine flu and we know what swine flu has done in the past.”
The scientists said that just like the coronavirus, the situation needed close monitoring as people might be having little or no immunity to the virus.
“That information will need to be verified and backed up with evidence but clearly it is a pointer to that. It is a matter of concern and we should all be concerned,” Aman said.
The CAS noted that such studies should motivate countries to strengthen their systems further, adding that Covid-19 was not going to be the last pandemic that the country shall face.
The last pandemic flu the world encountered was the swine flu outbreak of 2009. It was less deadly than initially feared, largely attributed to the fact that many older people had some immunity to it.
“We will see other pandemics in the future. We don’t know of what nature but we must build our health systems and ensure they are resilient to be able to cope with any disease or any pandemic that is likely to come up in the future,” the CAS said.
“I think this is what Covid is teaching the entire world right now, that it is all about having robust health systems that can cope with any eventuality if a pandemic does break out.”
Data from yesterday’s briefing showed that the number of positive cases in the country was 6,366 after 176 more cases were confirmed by the ministry in a day.
The new cases were from 2,419 samples tested. The total number of tests conducted since the first case is now 169,836.
On a positive note, 26 more people were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of patients who have successfully undergone treatment to 2,039.
The new cases are aged between three and 78 years, comprising 100 men and 76 women.
All the cases are Kenyan; 99 are from Nairobi while 20 are from Mombasa.
Kiambu had 17 new cases, Migori 13, Uasin Gishu 10, Busia four, Kilifi three, Makueni two while Machakos, Narok, Kisumu and Kakamega recorded one case each.
Four more patients succumbed to the virus, making the total number of fatalities 148.
As the country gears towards the peak of the virus, the 300 isolation beds being set up by each county are expected to have a proportion that will cater for critical care patients.
“Health being a devolved function and a responsibility of the counties it makes sense that they are able to provide the appropriate response. We will continue to support decentralization of testing and bringing testing closer to the people,” the CAS said.
Edited by Henry Makori