By Daniel Edyegu,/b>
Medical workers in Mbale Hospital have been put on high alert following the admission of a patient suspected to have Ebola.
Joseph (second name withheld) was referred to Mbale from Tororo Hospital at 11:00am on Tuesday after his condition deteriorated.
A senior nursing officer in Mbale Hospital said precautionary measures had been taken. The patient has been isolated and access to his room restricted.
â€œHe has been bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears since admission. He also has blood in his stool and urine. We took laboratory tests and prescribed him on treatment for haemorrhagic fever,â€ said the medic yesterday.
The medical staff became concerned when the bleeding persisted, although they put him on five litres of intravenous fluids, blood transfusion and intensive treatment.
They said more blood samples were yesterday drawn from Joseph and taken to Entebbe viral institute for testing.
David Obol, the chief administrator, said the hospital had provided medical workers accessing the patient with protective gear and disinfectants while awaiting the results.
Yesterday, Joseph was in a pathetic state. He lay on the bed groaning, blood flowing from his mouth and nose. He was unable to talk.
â€œThough the patient has all symptoms of Ebola, we cannot make conclusive statements until we receive his results from the viral institute,â€ said the medic.
Josephâ€™s father narrated that his son was first treated for malaria in Sudan where he had been working as a casual labourer on a construction site.
â€œHe first developed high fever and sweated profusely. He was put on malaria treatment. When he failed to respond to the treatment, friends contacted us and we brought him back home for additional treatment at Tororo Hospital.â€ He said they were immediately referred to Mbale Hospital.
Dr. Sam Zaramba of the Ministry of Health said last night that he had not yet received any report of the admission.
Ebola is a group of viruses that cause haemorrhagic fever for which there is no cure.
The various symptoms, that can appear suddenly, include diarrhoea, fever, fatigue, general pain and severe bleeding.
The cause of death is usually hypovolemic shock (inadequate blood) or organ failure. The virus spreads through contact with bodily fluids and tissue of infected people.
Ebola haemorrhagic fever has a high death rate, claiming between 50 and 90 percent of victims. The only way to stop or contain it is through prevention, rapid diagnosis and isolation of suspected cases.
The last outbreak of Ebola was reported in the western district of Bundibugyo in December 2007. The disease killed 16 people out of the 51 cases that were reported.
In the 2000 Ebola outbreak in Gulu, 428 people became infected, 173 of whom died.