Uganda: Experts Probe Suspected Ebola Outbreak

1 APRIL 2016
http://allafrica.com/stories/201604010835.html

Uganda: Experts Probe Suspected Ebola Outbreak

By Martins E. Ssekweyama

Masaka — Health experts have opened investigations into the death of four people suspected to have succumbed to the contagious Ebola -like symptoms in Masaka District.

The first suspicious death was reported late last month from Kasaka parish in Buwunga Sub-county, after one person identified as Wilberforce Ssenkubuge died upon showing strange signs related to the deadly haemorrhagic fever- Ebola.

Ssenkubuge is reported to have died after suffering from advanced fever, accompanied by abnormal pain, immense vomiting, passing out bloody stool and yellow eyes, which are known symptoms of Ebola fever.

Dr Stuart Musisi, the Masaka District health officer, on Wednesday confirmed that three similar deaths have so far occurred within one month and continues to receive patients with the same symptoms, something that has called for specialised investigation into this strange illness that has scared the community.

Dr Musisi said the reported cases are from the neighbouring parishes of Kasaka and Mazinga in Buwunga Sub-county where the first victim was living, and that their investigations have established that the new victims could have also had direct contact with the first one thus passing on the virus.

He said they so far have four patients under watch by health experts at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital as they await results from blood samples taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe. The Virus Research Institute had by press time not returned the results.

Meanwhile, Mr Eleazer Mugisha, the Masaka hospital principal administrator, said they have already set up an isolation ward from where six suspected Ebola victims are being attended to and urged the public to be on the lookout for any suspicious signs in their communities and report them to the hospital.

Mr Mugisha said they have got a backup team of health experts from the Health ministry to enable them contain the situation, adding that they have also sent out a mobile taskforce to look for the suspected victims.

Ebola is a highly infectious disease which presents with high grade fever and bleeding tendencies.

Background

If confirmed, this will be the first time Ebola is hitting Masaka sub-region since it was first reported in Uganda in 2001 where 425 people in Gulu District contracted the virus and more than half of them died. Since then, Uganda has suffered three Ebola epidemic and Marburg fever in 2012. These epidemics included Ebola in Kibaale District which killed 17 people, Marburg in Kabale and Ibanda districts and Ebola in Luweero District in November of the same year. A total of 24 other people survived despite being detected with Ebola.

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