Gov’t re-assures citizens, visitors on safety amid concerns of Ebola outbreak in Uganda

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State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties Hanifa Kawooya prresenting a status report on Ebola outbreak today in parliament; Photo Courtesy Parliament Press

The Ministry of Health has said there is no cause for alarm as it has instituted preliminary containment measures to control the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease both in Mubende district and in the surrounding areas.

The development came on Tuesday afternoon as the Minister for State for Health (General Duties) Hon Anifa Kawooya following a confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease in Mubende District.

In a status report, Hon Anifa Kawooya stated that the Ministry of Health will contain the spread of Ebola and there is no cause for alarm. The Ministry of Health also reiterated that Uganda is safe and all national and international travelers are free to travel to and within the country.

“I am confident that the Ministry of Health and its partners will contain the spread of the Ebola outbreak and there is no cause for alarm or fear but we advise all Ugandans to remain vigilant.” Kawooya said.

She re-affirmed 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.

on the 15th of September 2022, one suspected case-patient with Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHFJ was identified and isolated in Mubende Regional Referral Hospital but passed on 3 days later on 19th September 2022.

The suspected case-patient was a 24-year-old male who lived in Ngabano village of Madudu Sub County in Mubende District. The victim was a referral from St. John’s Medical Clinic in East Division of Mubende Municipality where he had just been referred.

According to Minister Kawooya, the victim 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. While in the isolation unit at Mubende RRH, he developed yellowing of eyes, tea colored urine and complained of abdominal pain on the 17th September 2022.

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 (UVRIJ on the 18th September 2022, and results released on the 19th September 2022 confirmed, Ebola [Sudan strain) infection.

According to the MOH, the body of the deceased is still currently kept in the Mubende Hospital mortuary separated from the other bodies awaiting a safe and dignified burial.

This is the second Ebola-Sudan strain in Uganda -MOH says. The first was reported in Luwero District in 2012 though it was dignosed and ended on index case as no second transmission was reported.

“The Ministry calls upon the population across the country, and Mubende sub-region to remain calm but remain vigilant to report any suspected case to the nearest health facility for assessment. We advise all Ugandans to remain vigilant and alert.” Kawooya said.

The MOH says it has strengthened its efforts to prevent further spread of the Ebola Virus within the country through several interventions including dispatching the National Rapid Response Team [NRRT] to support the District Rapid Response Team (DRRTJ in responding to the EVD outbreak.

Kawooya however urged the public to avoid physical contact with anyone with symptoms of Ebola, continue washing hands & maintain good hand hygiene at all times. “I urge all Ugandans to avoid handshaking, hugging and to observe sanitation and hygiene practices such as washing hands with soap and clean water at all times both at health facilities and communities” she stated.

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