Ministry of Health Tuesday morning confirmed the unfortunate outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (Sudan variant) in Mubende district, central Uganda.
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine said one person, a 24-year-old male, a resident of Ngabano village Madudu Sub County in Mubende District has far died. Seven other people with Ebola-like symptoms died in the community.
Addressing a press conference at the health ministry premises, Dr Atwine said Ebola presents symptoms such as high-grade fever, fatigue, chest pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, yellowing of eyes and unexplained bleeding.
Dr Atwine explained that bleeding, oftentimes from the eyes, nose, mouth, urine, stool and even the skin comes last when the virus has weakened the body making it hard to respond to treatment positively.
“Bleeding comes towards the end; this means that many people will present with the conventional symptoms first. We want the public to have that in the back of their minds, that bleeding might come later,” she said.
Dr Atwine called on health facilities to have the highest index of suspicion and maintain the highest safety precautions. She encouraged private clinics to observe Standard Operating Procedures and report any suspected cases to the nearest health authority for further investigation and management.
“The good thing is that every district has Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) so every clinic in that catchment area should contact the district authority then we institute measures for investigation and isolation,”
The Ministry of Health also reminded the public to avoid physical contact with anyone with the symptoms because Ebola spreads through body fluids like urine, sweat, blood, stool, vomit etc.
“We call on public places to institute strict hand washing facilities; we all know that Ebola spreads through body fluids. The caretakers are reminded to put on gloves because that is one way to mitigate infections,”
Cultural and religious norms
The permanent secretary also warned that some cultural and religious practices like washing dead bodies could facilitate the spread of Ebola and should be avoided.
She encouraged health professionals should supervise the handling of the bodies in the communities.