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Fears of deadly Ebola comeback as four die

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There are fears of re-emergence of the deadly Ebola outbreak following the deaths of four people in Gueckedou, southern Guinea, yesterday.

The highly contagious viral disease has a fatality rate of 50 per cent.

Interestingly the virus was first reported in 1976, but it wasn’t until four years ago that its first epidemic came to the fore. About 11, 300 people died in West Africa.

Close to Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been on the radar of the World Health Organization (WHO) since August 2018. WHO says the disease killed 2,249 people, while 3,432 others were infected.

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The Ebola virus is transmitted through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelopes and porcupines abound in the rainforests of Congo and West Africa.

Oicked from the ill or dead animals, Ebola spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (broken skin or mucous membranes).

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.

In 2019, a suspected Ebola case in Kericho prompted rapid response from the Ministry of Health. It is not clear whether the National Ebola Preparedness and Response Contingency Plan is still operational.

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