Kenyan tourism circles showed consternation and growing anger with the careless use of language employed by fellow East African Community (EAC) member countries and companies, suggesting that the country had suffered a yellow fever outbreak.
Fact is that two passengers who arrived on Kenya Airways flights from Angola, the only outbreak country on the continent right now, were taken into an isolation unit when it was found that they both had an abnormally high body temperature (fever) as they went through the health screening facility at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). This body-scanning facility was put up during the ebola outbreak in West Africa but remained operational to allow personnel of the Ministry of Health to spot travelers who arrive in Kenya with a high fever.
The two patients were, according to Ministry of Health and Kenya Tourism Board sources, the only two patients with yellow fever, belying statements that the country suffered an outbreak.
“Some people should learn to control their language and stick to facts. There is no yellow fever outbreak in Kenya, full stop. The ones who peddled such false rumors know themselves and should withdraw their statements. We consider such behavior unfriendly and fundamentally unnecessary to demand Yellow Fever inoculation certificates for travel across the East African Community. Our measures in Kenya, by the way a sign how prepared we now are to capture such issues on arrival at JKIA, were to ensure that passengers who come from or have been in Angola, show that they have been inoculated because it is there where an outbreak is taking place. This is a standard precaution but does not in any way mean there is Yellow Fever in Kenya,” wrote a source linked to the Kenyan tourism administration, seeking to clarify the situation.
All EAC member states do now once again demand yellow fever inoculation certificates from travelers, applied indiscriminately in some cases even against travelers from America, Europe, and Asia, where there are no outbreaks, prompting speculation that this could affect tourism arrivals should the perception spread of an outbreak due to such measures taken without due consideration.