By Francis Kagolo & Moses Walubiri
KAMPALA - Although no Ebola case has been confirmed in Uganda, Government has intensified screening of travelers coming into the country at Entebbe Airport and other border posts.
In the same vein, the ministry of health has also issued a warning to Ugandans intending to travel to West Africa to do so only when it is a necessity.
These are some of the measures taken to ward off Ebola that has devastated West African countries for the last four months.
Health Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda on Thursday said that the National Taskforce on Epidemics and Disease Surveillance (NTEDS) had been put on ‘high alert’.
Professor Peter Piot who co-discovered the Ebola virus as a 27-year-old researcher in 1976, says he would happily sit next to a victim on a train
“We have just received information of a new unconfirmed case in Nairobi, Kenya. Media reports of unconfirmes cases in Kitgum and Kampala districts are false. Any reported case in Uganda will be investigated promptly and the public will be informed,” Rugunda stated.
“We have heightened surveillance in all districts to look out for suspected cases and alerts for immediate action. We have stocked enough medical and health supplies. The isolation units at Entebbe Airport as well as the Airport Medical Centre have been equipped.”
The minister was addressing the reporters at the Media Centre in Kampala following reports of an unconfirmed Ebola case in Kitgum.
By July 27, Ebola had killed 729 people of the 1,323 confirmed cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The disease has since spread to Nigeria.
A front page story on the death of Liberian diplomat Patrick Sawyer (pictured with his wife Decontee) who died of the Ebloa virus in Lagos
The Ebola virus disease germs as seen under a microscope. (News Limited)
The screening specifically targets people who have been to any of the affected countries in the last 21 days.
Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through body contact with an infected person. It presents with high fever, bleeding, diarrhoea and red eyes among other symptoms.
Earlier, MPs expressed concern over what they considered ‘weak’ measures taken to guard Ebola from spreading into the country.
“Government should copy other countries that have put up robust mechanism to prevent possible Ebola outbreaks. We have many people travelling through our airport and even Ugandans coming from the epicenter of the epidemic,” MP Amuriat Oboi told the House.
A number of countries in Europe and America have taken measured to prevent spread of the disease with travellers from the three West African countries always thoroughly scrutinized to make sure they are safe from Ebola.
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No Ebola in Uganda - Govt