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THE RISK OF SPREADING EBOLA IS HIGH, MUBENDE AND KASANDA DISTRICTS LOCKDOWN FOR 21 DAYS

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By Goodluck Musinguzi

26 days after announcing the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, the Ministry of Health has been forced to recommend a lockdown in two districts of Mubende and Kasanda the epi-centre of the viral disease. President Yoweri Museveni narrated how two known family members decided to visit other districts to attend burials, on return each family lost a member to Ebola.

“Last time, I spoke to you about some people that were difficult, lying to us, hijacking dead bodies and moving from district to district including coming to Kampala City. This movement and deceit have not changed and the risk of spreading Ebola to other parts of the country remains very high.  Ebola, as you know, is highly infectious and deadly. It greatly affects the economy and tourism industry.  If not adequately controlled, Ebola may spread beyond Uganda”, said President Museveni

President Museveni said “We have instituted tough measures in order to account for Contacts of the 58 people who are currently battling Ebola in Mubende Referral Hospital and other health centres. We now have 58 total confirmed cases and 19deaths. So far, 20 people have recovered from Ebola”.

Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health

On September 20th, Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary announced the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, she elaborated that on the September 15, 2022, one suspected case-patient of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) was identified and isolated in Mubende Regional Referral Hospital.

The suspected case-patient was a 24-year-o1d male who lived in Ngabano village of Madiidu Sub-County in Mubende District.

He was a referral from St. Johns Medical Clinic in the East Division of Mubende Municipality where he had just been referred.

The patient presented with high-grade fever, convulsions, blood-stained vomitus and diarrhoea, loss of appetite and pain in swallowing. He also presented with chest pain, dry cough, and bleeding in the eyes.

“While in the isolation unit at Mubende RRH, he developed yellowing of eyes, tea-colored urine and complained of abdominal pain on September 17, 202 2. The clinical team took a sample from the patient having suspected a VHF. The sample was received at the VHF laboratory at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on September 18, 2022, and results released on September 19, 2022, confirmed Ebola (Sudan strain) infection.”

Ebola Virus

A suspected case of Ebola may present with a sudden onset of fever, fatigue, chest pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, unexplained bleeding and yellowing of the eyes.

The incubation period for the Ebola Sudan variant is 2-21 days and like all other Ebola strains, this is a serious disease with significant morbidity and mortality.

The confirmed index case reportedly passed on early Monday morning and the body is still being kept there, awaiting safe burial.

Dr Atwine said more information is still being gathered concerning the possible source of infection and contacts for this confirmed case.

This is the second Ebola-Sudan strain in Uganda after the first case was reported in the Luwero district in 2012 but without secondary transmissions.

Unexplained deaths

Since the beginning of the Month, the District Rapid Response team in Mubende has been investigating suspicious cases of suspected viral hemorrhagic fever following reports of six strange illnesses and deaths in Kiruma and Madudu sub-counties.

These were three adults and three children who died between September 1 and September 15, 2022.

About Ebola

Ebola is a viral, acute disease that can turn fatal if left untreated. Ebola is transmitted through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest, human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, objects that have been contaminated with body fluids (like blood, faeces, vomit) from a person sick with Ebola or the body of a person who died from Ebola.

Precaution

The public is urged to avoid physical contact with anyone with the above symptoms, continue washing hands and maintain good hand hygiene at all times. Avoid contact with body fluids that include urine, blood, sweat, saliva, vomitus, and stool.

Handling of dead bodies suspected to have Ebola-like symptoms should be supervised by the health team and undergo a safe and dignified burial to prevent further spread within the communities.

All public places in the country are urged to institute hand washing facilities at their premises.

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