Health Ministry, WHO Confirm Ebola Outbreak in Kasese

Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng (L) and WHO Country Representative, Yonas Woldemariam (R) addressing reporters.

The Ministry of Health in Uganda together with World Health Organization (WHO) have Tuesday reported a confirmed Ebola outbreak in the Western district of Kasese.

This was announced by Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng at a news conference in Kampala late on Tuesday. The Minister addressed reporters jointly with the WHO Country Representative for Uganda, Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam.

The confirmed case is a 5 year old Congolese child who traveled from the DRC with his family on 9th June 2019, WHO said.

The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness.

“The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit for management. The confirmation was made today by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI),” the statement adds.

The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored.

So far, the Ministry of Health and WHO have dispatched a Rapid Response Team to Kasese to start contact tracing and management of cases that are likely to occur.

Community education and psychosocial support have been intensified.

The team will also undertake vaccination for those who have come into contact with the patient and frontline health workers considered to be at high risk.

“The District administration and local councils in the affected area have been directed to ensure that any person with Ebola signs and symptoms in the community is reported to the health workers immediately and provided with advice and testing,” a statement on the WHO website reads in part.

The Ministry of Health is also setting up units in the affected district and at referral hospitals to handle cases if they occur.

“There are no confirmed cases in any other parts of the country”.

The Ministry has appealed to the general public and health workers to work together closely, to be vigilant and support each other in helping anyone with symptoms to receive care quickly.

Uganda has previous experience managing Ebola outbreaks. In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated nearly 4700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including in the facility where the child is being cared for); disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognizing symptoms of the disease.

Ebola virus disease is a severe illness that is spread through contact with the body fluids of a person sick with the disease (fluids such as vomit, feces or blood).

First symptoms are similar to other diseases and thus require vigilant health and community workers, especially in areas where there is Ebola transmission, to help make diagnosis. Symptoms can be sudden and include: Fever, Fatigue, Muscle pain, Headache and Sore throat.

People who have been in contact with someone with the disease are offered vaccine and asked to monitor their health for 21 days to ensure they do not become ill as well.

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