Govt issues intervention measures to counter the spread of Ebola virus

(Last Updated On: 21 September 2022)

This is the second Ebola-Sudan strain in Uganda. The first Ebola case was reported in Luwero district in 2012.

By Faith Wetsetse 

Mukono – Sept. 21, 2022: The State Minister of Health (General Duties) on Tuesday presented a statement to the August House on Ebola disease outbreak in Mubende district.

 Minister Kawooya Anifa  Bangirana  notes that more information is still being gathered concerning the possible source of infection and contacts for the confirmed case[s].

 In the press briefing, according to the ministry of health, the suspected case-patient was a 24-year-old male who lived in Ngabano village of Madudu sub-county in Mubende district. 

 He was admitted at St. Johns Medical Clinic in the East Division of Mubende Municipality and later referred to Mubende Referral Hospital from where he died. 

 Dr Diana Atwine, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary told a media briefing that the deceased presented with high grade fever, convulsions, blood-stained vomitus and diarrhea, loss of appetite and pain on swallowing. 

He also presented with chest pain, dry cough, and bleeding in the eyes.

Also, a statement later issued by the Ministry of Health stated that while in the isolation unit at Mubende RRH, the deceased developed yellowing of eyes; tea colored urine and complained of abdominal pain on September 17, 2022. 

 The clinical team took a sample from the patient having suspected 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. 

Also read: One dead as Uganda confirms Ebola outbreak 

 According to the statement presented to Parliament by Bangirana, the Ministry of Health has strengthened its efforts to prevent further spread of the Ebola virus within the country through the following interventions:

  1. The National Rapid Response Team [NRRT] has been dispatched to support the District Rapid Response Team (DRRT) in responding to the EVD outbreak. The team has been equipped with a sizable amount of logistics including an isolation tent, EVD kits and other essential supplies. 
  2. Surveillance and contact tracing Surveillance involves tracing contacts of the confirmed cases, screening travelers at both designated and undesignated Points of Entry (PoE), active case search both within communities and health facilities. 
  3. Line listing of all possible contacts to the deceased index case has commenced in Mubende and Kiboga Districts
  4. Safe and Dignified burial of the confirmed index case which was to be conducted on September, 20 2022 
  5. The Ministry of Health will intensify risk communication and community engagement to increase awareness on EVD among the communities, Radio/TV Talk shows and dissemination of information materials will also be conducted.

 The state minister also ascertained that on suspicion of VHF, the District Rapid Response team initiated the investigations in the community as there were unconfirmed deaths in different communities. This was as a result of community reports of strange illness and sudden deaths in the villages of Madudu and Kiruma sub-counties.

 Ministry appeals to health workers 

 The Ministry of Health urges all health workers to have the highest index of suspicion and maintain heightened safety precautions. Private clinics are encouraged to observe the Standard Operating Procedures and report any suspected case to the nearest district health authorities for further investigations and management. 

 Ministry’s appeals to the public

 The public is urged to avoid physical contact with anyone with the above symptoms, continue with 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 required to institute hand washing facilities at their premises. 

This is the second Ebola-Sudan strain in Uganda. The first Ebola case was reported in Luwero district in 2012. This was diagnosed and ended on the index case, there was no secondary transmission reported. 

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

 According to the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, movements of people from one place to another within the country and between countries are not restricted during disease outbreaks. 

Therefore, the Ministry of Health reiterates that Uganda is safe and all national and international travelers are free to travel to and within the country. 

In a nutshell, the ministry affirms that all places of economic and social interaction in Uganda such as national parks and tourist sites are open and accessible to the public and people are free to visit any place of interest in Uganda.

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