The ministry of Health on Wednesday confirmed the first death from the Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) at Mulago hospital, since the outbreak was announced on August 16, 2013.
According to a ministry statement, the 27-year-old female patient, a resident of Nansana, was admitted to Mulago on August 16, with febrile illness, severe anaemia, vomiting blood, headaches and inter-menstrual bleeding. The still-unidentified woman was the wife of a south Sudan-based trader, who had suffered from CCHF earlier while in Juba, and was adjudged to have healed. However, he was able to infect his wife on his return to Kampala.
Mulago hospital has now re-opened its isolation facility to admit any suspected cases in and around Kampala. The ministry has also picked up fresh samples from the deceased’s husband and is now looking through the list of people, he may have contacted. A burial team has been constituted to coordinate burials of suspected and confirmed cases.
According to the director general of health services, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, there is only one confirmed case of CCHF, currently admitted in Kalongo hospital’s temporary isolation facility, in Agago district.
The still unidentified male patient contracted the fever last week and is under observation, after responding well to treatment. The statement added that six other people, who got into contact with the confirmed case, had been discharged after presenting no signs of the disease within the specified incubation period (14 days).
“The ministry of Health clarifies that the hospital has enough stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and disinfectants carried forward from the yellow fever outbreak of 2010,” Aceng said.
Patients usually present with symptoms including headache, high fever, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain, and vomiting. These are combined with red eyes, a flushed face, a red throat, and red spots on the palate.
According to the Centres for Disease Control, as the illness progresses, large areas of severe bruising, severe nosebleeds, and uncontrolled bleeding at injection sites can be seen.
“The only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk, eliminate tick infestation in barns and routinely treat animals with pesticides two weeks prior to slaughter,” WHO recommends.
The ministry of Health has emphasised that the disease is under control, while authorities in Agago say, they are watching the situation closely.
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