The Ministry of Health has issued an alert on an outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease in Madagascar and the neighboring Uganda and warned that Kenya has been classified as posing a moderate risk of potential spread due to travel interconnection with Madagascar.
In a statement, Director of Medical Services (DMS) Dr Jackson Kioko (pictured) noted that there are over 20 weekly flights between Madagascar and Kenya adding that the increased air travel can facilitate the spread of the disease due to short time taken to travel between the two countries as well as the sea transport for both passengers and cargo between.
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO) risk assessment, Kenya has been classified as at moderate risk of potential spread due to travel interconnection with Madagascar. There are over 20 weekly flights between Madagascar and Kenya. This increased air travel can facilitate the spread of the disease due to short time taken to travel between the two countries. There is also sea transport for both passengers and cargo between Madagascar and Kenya,” he noted.
WHO explains that the plague may be transmitted to humans by either of following ways: the bite of infected fleas, direct contact with infected fluids or tissues (either human or other infected animals) and inhalation of infected respiratory droplets and can be a very severe disease with a case-fatality ratio of 30 to 100 percent if untreated.
Kioko said the disease develops within one to seven days after infection and symptoms includes sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, body aches, body weakness, nausea and vomiting. If diagnosed early, the disease can be cured with antibiotics and supportive care.
He said, Marburg is transmitted to humans through exposure to mines or caves inhabited by bats and consumption of bush meat, direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids and burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person.