The high risk category districts are Ntoroko, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Rubirizi, Kikuube, Kamwenge, Hoima, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Isingiro, Buliisa, Kagadi, Pakwach, Kampala and Wakiso.
Minister of health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng. Photo/File
KAMPALA - With festivities in high gear, the Ministry of Health is warning the public to take precaution against Ebola virus disease.
The disease was reported in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo on August 1, 2018. The affected Provinces are North Kivu and Ituri about 100km from the western border of Uganda. The Ebola virus causes an acute illness which if not treated early is often fatal.
In a statement released by the minister of health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the public is warned against contact with wild animals and consuming suspicious meat.
The minister explained that Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the forest.
"Avoid contact with fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their meat or meat from dead animals. Avoid direct or close contact with people with Ebola symptoms, particularly with their bodily fluids, without appropriate protective wear," Aceng said in a statement.
She also stressed that Ebola spreads from human-to-human via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials such as beddings and clothing that are contaminated with contaminated with these fluids.
"Burial ceremonies that involve direct contact with the body of a person who has died of Ebola can also contribute to the transmission of Ebola. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms," Aceng explained
The symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, from the gums, or in the stool.
Aceng appealed to the public to report promptly any person at home or in the neighbourhood with Ebola-like symptoms to the nearest health facility or toll free number 0800100066.
Other preventive measures include, washing hands with soap and water; using alcohol hand-rub regularly, especially after visiting patients in hospital.
"Practice prompt and safe burial of people suspected to have died of Ebola, with the help of trained health workers. Health care workers should use infection prevention and control measures when handling all patients," Aceng stressed.
Meanwhile, the ministry has classified into three groups of districts at risk. The high risk category districts are Ntoroko, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Rubirizi, Kikuube, Kamwenge, Hoima, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Isingiro, Buliisa, Kagadi, Pakwach, Kampala and Wakiso.
The moderate risk category districts are Arua, Maracha, Nebbi, Zombo, Yumbe, Moyo, Adjumani, Koboko, Lamwo and Kabale. The rest of the country has been classfified as low risk category.
Minister Aceng however, said there was no cause for alarm as the national Task Force that coordinates disease outbreaks, has been in action since the outbreak of the disease in DRC in August. So far, the government has heightened Ebola screening at border points. a total of 2392 health workers and front workers in high risk districts have received Pre-exposure Vaccination of health and frontline workers in health facilities and at points of entry in high risk districts.
"The public is therefore requested to remain calm because the Ministry of Health has the capacity to control and contain Ebola should it cross to Uganda. The public is further requested to be vigilant and report any rumour, alert or suspected case of Ebola to the nearest health facility or the following toll free-number 0800100066," Aceng said in a statement.
According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now, Nzara, South Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976.
Uganda suffered an Ebola outbreak in 2000, which resulted into more 400 reported cases and over 220 deaths mainly affecting Gulu district. In 2012, a total of 17 deaths were reported in the outbreak in Kibaale district.