The ministry of Health has dismissed as false, rumours of a confirmed Ebola case in Mbarara district in western Uganda or any other part of the country.
Yesterday, Tuesday social media and main stream media were awash with reports that Ebola had reached the populous Mbarara district - nearly two weeks after the first confirmed case in Uganda on June 11.
The ministry says in a statement that although “the outbreak is real”, the public should desist from spreading false rumours that may cause unnecessary anxiety and stigmatisation of victims.
“The Ebola treatment unit (ETU) in Mbarara regional referral hospital does not have any patient admitted in the ETU at the moment. As of today [Tuesday], Uganda has [also] not registered any new confirmed Ebola case in Kasese district or any other part of Uganda since the last registered case four days ago.” the statement reads.
However, the statement adds that there are two new suspected cases that had their blood samples taken and sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for testing in Entebbe. The suspects are currently under isolation at Bwera Ebola treatment unit.
The deadly Ebola virus disease has so far claimed three lives of a 5-year-old boy, his 3-year-old brother and their 50-year-old grandmother. The family contracted the virus after travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to attend the burial of a relative who died of Ebola himself.
Other suspected cases from the same family have been repatriated back to DRC for therapeutic treatment. The ministry has now received clearance from Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and National Drug Authority (NDA) to bring therapeutic treatment for Ebola patients into the country.
Currently, there are 92 contacts under monitoring in Kagando and Bwera according to the ministry. Since the outbreak, government embarked on a mass ring vaccination drive for frontline and health workers.
“As of Monday 17th June, a total of 128 contacts and non-vaccinated Frontline and health workers have been vaccinated,” says minister Jane Ruth Aceng.
In another related development, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus held bilateral talks with the President Yoweri Museveni on potential interventions on how to end the Ebola outbreak both in DRC and Kasese district.
During his brief to Museveni about the situation in Eastern DRC, Dr Ghebreyesus reiterated WHO’s on-going support to the government of Uganda to control the Ebola outbreak.
He also praised the steps Uganda had taken to prepare for the outbreak. Since the Ebola outbreak in August 2018 in DRC, Uganda went into a 10-month preparation phase in anticipation of the outbreak given the porous borders between the two countries.
“We must invest in preparedness—this is the smartest investment we can make,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.
Museveni appreciated the response by the Ugandan health workers in their efforts in containing the outbreak and encouraged them to continue the good work they are doing.
GULU SUSPECTS TEST NEGATIVE
The two suspected Ebola cases admitted at St Mary’s hospital Lacor in Gulu district tested negative. The two include a four-year-old girl and a boy aged 11, who were admitted in the isolation ward of the hospital last week after presenting Ebola-like symptoms.
However, the samples from the two were found negative of Ebola and any other haemorrhagic fevers. The hospital’s communications officer, Josephine Jean Anying said that despite the negative results, the hospital still remains on high alert.
Gulu was the epicentre of the first Ebola outbreak in Uganda, which devastated the region, killing more than 200 people and affecting more than 400 others in 2000. Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids such as blood, saliva, sweat, tears, mucus, vomit, faeces, breast milk, urine, and semen of infected people.
Report any suspected cases to the nearest health facility or call our toll-free number 0800-203-033 or 0800-100-066.