Concern as cases of Covid-19 patients without symptoms rise


When he appeared on national TV, Director-General for Health Patrick Amoth was hard-pressed to explain why a patient in Homa Bay County had been hospitalized yet he wasn’t receiving any treatment for coronavirus.

This question was raised after a video of the patient identified as Kevin Aura went viral on social media, claiming he was healthy despite the Ministry of Health insisting that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Dr Amoth explained that Mr Aura was rightly admitted because samples taken from him for Covid-19 came back positive.

“Kevin is case number 257, and he’s not being treated because he doesn’t display symptoms. The test was done in Kemri Kisumu and turned positive,” Dr Amoth.

Mr Aura, 26, is one of the patients considered to be asymptomatic, who now account for almost half of the confirmed cases in Kenya.

As daily numbers of confirmed cases rise, the ministry says there is evidence of asymptomatic cases, sparking fear of unwitting community transmission. Being asymptomatic means that you have no symptoms and therefore require no treatment.

“Fifty-six per cent of the 281 cases are asymptomatic, but are being isolated as the ministry waits for the virus to pass on during the 14 days in a process known as viral shedding,” Dr Amoth added.

Globally, studies published have found that asymptomatic cases account for between five per cent and 80 per cent of people testing positive for the virus. But screening misses these people because most are symptom-based screening.