KFELTP, MOH to conduct MERS CoV and Influenza A surveillance in Kenya
An assessment spear headed by Cohort X residents: Joan Karanja and Daniel Kaburu, will see the implementation of a laboratory based surveillance for MERS-CoV and influenza A (H7N9) in selected private hospitals in Kenya.
With support from the Ministry of Health , Kenya, Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (DSRU), in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three field teams were deployed on 27 October, 2013 to Nairobi and Mombasa counties to assess the feasibility of conducting MERS-CoV and influenza A (H7N9) surveillance in private hospitals in the two counties.
Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus (MERS-CoV) is a newly emerging respiratory viral infection in humans and animals. MERS-CoV infection can result in severe pneumonia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 130 laboratory-confirmed and 17 probable cases of human infection with MERS-CoV have been reported in April 2012. Some of the affected countries in the Middle East include: Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Several countries in Europe have reported cases among travelers to and from the Middle East.
Influenza A H7 viruses are a group of influenza viruses that normally circulate among birds. Both diseases have the potential to results in outbreaks across the world. The assessment revealed that migration of at least 20,000 Chinese residents per year through air-travel alone to Kenya suggests the possibility of influenza A (H7N9) introduction into Kenya. It was also suggested that towards the end of 2013, many Kenyans attended the annual Hajj, which could have resulted in the introduction of MERS-CoV into the cllountry.
The assessment aimed to review the preparedness and current capacity of private hospitals in surveillance and response to severe respiratory viral infections, identify hospitals which manage patients who travel to/from the Middle East or China and identify private hospitals where surveillance for MERSCoV and influenza A (H7N9) can be implemented.
The feasibility assessment was conducted in private hospitals in Nairobi and Mombasa Counties which have the two main ports of entry into the country and majority of the Muslim communities reside in the two Counties.
The study therefore concluded that, most of the private and NGO/FBO hospitals had the capacity to manage MERSCoV and influenza A H7N9 patients as the provided in-patient care is which is essential for the management of patients with severe pneumonia. It also revealed that few hospitals are able to provide HDU/ICU services which may be required in respiratory distress. These hospitals contained a surveillance focal person, surveillance system and good recording and reporting mechanisms. All hospitals had mechanisms of waste disposal, therefore minimizing spread of the diseases. The recording of patients’ nationalities would enable detection of travelers to and from the Middle East and China.
The assessment however recommended capacity building on MERSCoV and influenza A (H7N9 surveillance and infection prevention practices. Hospitals were encouraged to report respiratory illnesses to the Ministry of Health weekly and that VTM vials should be provided and mechanisms for transportation of specimen put in place.
It also recommended that isolation facilities be created in the most of the hospitals to minimize spread of the respiratory illnesses.
Author: KFELTP | Submitted: 2014-04-08 01:30:34