Ebola Alert: Kenya issues health update

Cape Town -  Kenya's department of health has issued an update on the countries preparedness to deal with the Ebola outbreak. 

In an official statement released by its health ministry, Kenyan authorities said it was working with airlines to screen travellers who come from, or are in transit from West Africa.

Kenya receives an average of 76 flights per day from the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. 

The ministry said it would be collecting the personal details, exact location or origin/transit and presence of any suggestive signs or symptoms.

Also see: Ebola - A Guide for Worried Flyers

To date, more than 10 000 travelers from West Africa have been screen with the distribution of the Ebola fact sheets and travellers' information sheets in place since July. The ministry says it has established temporary holding rooms at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport(JKlA) where suspected cases of Ebola will be retained and assessed further while awaiting possible transfer to isolation facilities.

 The World Health Organisation has declared Ebola a global public health emergency but  has said air travel is low-risk in spreading the disease. 

The body was attempting to allay fears after a number of international carriers have suspended their services to West African countries affected by the disease. 

Kenya Airways has been in consultation with IATA, WHO and the Kenyan Ministry of Health over risks on air travel into and out of the Ebola infected areas in West Africa.

“The WHO advice to travellers is unchanged. It continues to state that the “The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola during a visit to the affected areas and developing the disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported,"WHO said in a statement. 

Kenya Airways confirmed it does not see a major risk that warrants stopping operations into the region
and will continue with their flights while reviewing the position on a daily basis.

South African Airways on Wednesday said the decision to continue flying to West Africa, in light of the Ebola outbreak, is consistent with the position adopted by the World Health Organisation and the International Air Transport Association.

Korean Air Lines Co Ltd said it will suspend flights to and from Nairobi from August 20 to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. 

Ivory Coast announced Monday that it has banned all flights from countries hit by Ebola as part of steps to prevent the deadly virus from reaching the west African nation.

British Airways said on August 5 that it has suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone and Dubai's Emirates Airline said earlier this month it was suspending flights to Guinea.

There is currently no available cure or vaccine for Ebola -  latest figues show between 10 and 11 August, 128 new cases of Ebola virus disease, as well as 56 deaths, were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, bringing the total number of cases to 1 975 and deaths to 1 069.