August 16, 2013

MOH, WHO Confirm Outbreak Of Haemorrhagic Fever In Agago

Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation have confirmed the outbreak of a haemorrhagic fever in Omot Sub County, Agago district.

Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of state for Health in charge General Duties on Friday stated that following tests done by the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, the samples obtained from one person have tested positive for the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

Elioda Tumwesigye, the State Minister for Health and General Duties and Dr. Kamabare
Elioda Tumwesigye (L), the State Minister for Health

A male adult farmer from Baromo village in Ateke parish showed symptoms on August 8th with high fever, general body weakness, muscle pains and bleeding from some body parts.

He was then admitted at Kalongo hospital and he is still undergoing supportive treatment.
The ministry is currently investigating three other deaths in the same sub county in relation to the outbreak.

The Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever is a zoonotic disease that is caused by tick borne virus, and Nile virus of the Bunyaviradae family.

The Virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreak, it’s highly infectious and kills between 30-40 percent of the infected persons. It is endemic in livestock both domestic and wild in Africa such as cattle, goats and sheep.

Dr Tumwesigye adds that the virus is transmitted to human beings through bites from infected ticks. In animals it is transmitted by ticks but it can also break out from domestic and wild animals to human beings through tick bites and by humans getting in contact with animal blood.

With a sort incubation period of three to five days, the signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden headache, high fever, back pain, joint muscle pain, stomach, vomiting, red eyes, flushed face, red throat and bleeding from some body parts.

The Ministry of Health has now reactivated the taskforce to coordinate all responses and the district task force is in charge of local responses. Dr Tumwesigye adds that a technical team from the Ministry of Health and other partners will today be dispatched to the district to conduct further investigations.

So far six contacts from Omot Sub County have been identified and are all under surveillance. A temporary isolation section has been set up at Kalongo hospital to accommodate any suspected cases.

The public is thus advised to avoid any physical contact with affected people or their body fluids.

Dr Issa Makumbi, the head of epidemiology and surveillance at the Ministry of Health, also reveals that they are working with the Veterinary department in the Ministry of Agriculture to investigate cases of he virus.

Dr Hondimagegnehu Alem, the WHO representative in the Country, is confident Uganda is able to handle the management of the fever and says there should not be any travel bans to Uganda because of the outbreak.

The outbreak was first reported on Thursday afternoon with Agago district officials claiming that there was an outbreak of ebola in the district.

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