Ebola Suspect Isolated at Entebbe Airport Top story

1995 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Authorities say that although the woman, whose details remain private, has not been in directed contact with bodily fluids of any infected person, she was suspected after exhibiting some symptoms of Ebola.

An unidentified woman, reportedly travelling from Nigeria has been placed under Isolation at Entebbe International airport after developing signs of the deadly Ebola virus.

Nigeria is one of the four West African countries currently battling the worst epidemic ever recorded on the disease. It has claimed more than 1,000 lives in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the recent past. Another 1700 people have been infected.

Authorities say that although the woman, whose details remain private, has not been in directed contact with bodily fluids of any infected person, she was suspected after exhibiting some symptoms of Ebola.

The incurable virus spreads through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, such as sweat and blood. Medical experts say the disease kills up to 90 percent of its victims.

The Ministry of health has confirmed that tests had been carried out on the patient to determine if she has Ebola and samples have been forwarded to the Uganda Virus Research institute. Results are expected within 24 hours, the health ministry’s spokesperson, Rukia Nakamatte has said.

This is the second suspect to be held at Entebbe airport within a space of one week as African countries step up disease surveillance at major airports to guard against further spread of the epidemic which has already been declared an international health emergency.

The first suspect was a travelling from South Sudan and was stopped after screening by health ministry officials at Entebbe airport but was later released after testing negative.

Neighbors Kenya on Saturday said they would close borders to travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Tanzania at the same time advised its citizens to postpone all travel to countries where the disease has been detected. Rwanda’s health ministry said its surveillance and emergency management systems were on alert.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the extent of the West Africa Ebola disease outbreak could be larger than previously thought. The agency says staffs at the outbreak sites see evidence that the number of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.

WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic fears that the outbreak will have consequences on economies and social aspects on the continent.

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He says WHO is coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshaling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, and within the United Nations system.