HEALTH PS: Dr Diana Atwiine

Kampala and Wakiso are among 23 high risk districts in the country that could fall victims to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), a haemorrhagic fever that has hit the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), province of North Kivu that shares a borderline with Uganda.

“There is confirmed Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo putting Uganda at high risk. Ebola is a serious disease that kills within a short time. The general public should be calm and be alert to report suspected cases at the nearest health facility,” says the alert posted on Twitter by the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine.

Atwine listed other districts at the high risk as; Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu, Rubirizi, Rukungiri, Bulisa, Bundibugyo, Hoima, Kabarole, Kakadi, Ntoroko and Kasese. Others at the risk of catching the deadly disease are; Adjuman, Arua, Koboko, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Yumbe and Koboko.

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According to the Alert signs and symptoms include; bleeding through the eyes, nose, gums, ears, anus and other private parts. Other signs are; sudden fever, feeling tired, muscle pains, headache, sore throat, vomiting blood, diarrhea and rash.

Spread: Ebola spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact, through broken skin or mucous membranes, blood, secretions such as urine, faeces, sweat of a person infected with Ebola, vomit, saliva and coming into contact with a person who has died of Ebola. Contact with surfaces and materials like bedding and clothing contaminated with the fluids also spreads the disease from person to person.

“To avoid Ebola, avoid direct contact with body fluids of an infected person, avoid contact with persons who have died of Ebola, avoid contact with/eating bats and monkeys, wash with soap, water and jik. Pour jik and water on vomit feaces of those infected,” reads the Alert.

Yesterday, the acting director of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa on Monday issued a notice directing all district health officers in the country to be vigilant.

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 1, announced preliminary laboratory results indicating a cluster of cases of Ebola virus in North Kivu province. The announcement was issued little more than a week after the Ministry of Health declared the end of an outbreak in Equateur Province in the far western part of the country, some 2500 kilometers from North Kivu.

North Kivu hosts over one million displaced people. The province shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda with a great deal of cross border movement due to the trade activities. Who said last week it would work with neighbouring countries to ensure health authorities are alerted and prepared to respond.