Kenyan Hospital on Alert After Woman Dies of Hemorrhagic Fever Symptoms

Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Kenya's largest referral hospital is on high alert after a woman with symptoms of hemorrhagic fever died on arrival at the Nairobi facility, where she had been rushed for treatment.

Doctors say 29-year old Gladys Muthoni was bleeding from the nose, ears and mouth when she arrived at Kenyatta National Hospital in a taxi at around 10 a.m. local time Thursday and died shortly after. They say she had been working at a hotel in the center of the Kenyan capital.

Kenyan medical authorities have isolated the three people who accompanied the woman in the taxi, including her father, a friend and the taxi driver. A doctor at the hospital, Masika Wafula, says the facility is taking all precautions because the woman's symptoms indicate that her disease was not common.

Wafula declined to say whether she had contracted the Ebola virus that causes hemorrhagic fever, a disease with mortality rates of up to 90 percent. Experts from the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were called in to carry out tests to determine the cause of her death.

Nairobi's Capital News radio says authorities also have sent medical personnel to the hotel where the woman worked and to her home for further analysis.

A 12-year old girl died of Ebola in neighboring Uganda in May. The case prompted Kenya's government to order health officials to be on alert for possible Ebola cases at border crossings between the two countries.