Kenya on high alert after Ebola outbreak in Uganda

Wednesday September 21 2022

Medical staff of an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in DR Congo. Health minister urges officials to initiate prevention, preparedness and response measures especially at border points. PHOTO | FILE


Kenya’s Ministry of Health has urged all counties to screen all truck drivers, bush meat handlers, health care workers and travellers for the Ebola virus, after Uganda reported an outbreak of the disease.

In a statement on Wednesday, counties have also been urged to sensitise the community and the health care workers to be able to identify cases of Ebola infection, and also sensitise all stakeholders on prevention measures, and case and sample management.

“Mobilise all the relevant stakeholders to initiate prevention, preparedness and response measures,” Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.

Given that Kenya and Uganda shares several land and water border crossing points and many porous borders, there is need for Kenyans to remain vigilant and report any suspected case, he added.

"We are closely monitoring movement across the border and especially those coming from the neighbouring countries and we are calling upon the counties to put the necessary measures and start screening,” Mr Kagwe said.

“Uganda has reported Ebola outbreaks in the past largely influenced by Democratic Republic of Congo outbreaks. It is important to note that there is substantial human traffic between Uganda and Kenya for trade and other socioeconomic activities.”


The DR Congo has seen 14 Ebola outbreaks since 1976, with six recorded since 2018.

The CS said the Health ministry will train and send health officials to all entry points to identify potential Ebola cases. Anyone suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus will be quarantined and samples taken to laboratories for testing.

In Kenya, there is a national Ebola preparedness and response contingency plan with a team tasked to monitor the situation and ensure there are sufficient trained personnel.

On Monday, Uganda confirmed a case of Ebola in Mubende District, making the information public on Tuesday. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo, which neighbours Uganda to the west, is currently battling an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, after a new case was detected in August, just over a month after the country declared an end to the 14th outbreak.

South Sudan is also on high alert following the outbreak in Uganda and DRC.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease is transmitted to people from animals and spreads through human-to-human infection.

Uganda has had at least three previous episodes of Ebola Virus Disease, the deadliest being in 2000 that killed hundreds.