The Ministry of Health has received an alert from the Ministry of Health in Uganda on the outbreak of Ebola in the country. This alert is in keeping with the East African Community Health protocols and further promotes good neighborliness. I take this opportunity to most sincerely thank the Government of Uganda and assure them of our highest regards as it moves to contain the outbreak.
According to the report from Ugandan authorities. the outbreak has been detected in Ngabano village of Madudu Sub County, Mubende District in Central Uganda. So far only one fatal case has been reported, a 24-year-old male who died on 19th September, 2022.
The victim had been treated for other symptoms before developing Ebola like symptoms and signs. Health officials in Uganda are currently conducting contact tracing to identify any close contacts of the deceased. Six suspicious prior deaths are currently under investigations.
Uganda has reported Ebola incidences in the past, largely influenced by frequent outbreaks in Democratic Republic of Congo. The two countries share a long common border that is mostly porous. It is important to note that there is substantial human traffic between Uganda and Kenya for trade and other socio-economic activities.
The main mode of transport is road, air and water (through Lake Victoria). Some of the formal land crossings include border points such as; Busia, Malaba, Lwakhakha, Suam and air travel through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (J KIA), Kisumu International Airport, Moi International Airport and Eldoret International Airport. In addition, there are numerous informal land and water border crossing points. All these puts Kenya at high risk of disease importation and therefore members of the public need to be vigilant and report any suspected cases.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and often fatal illness in humans caused by Ebola virus. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Based on previous outbreaks, up to 67% of infected cases die. Ebola can have serious socioeconomic impact as demonstrated in the 2014/2016 outbreak in West Africa. It is estimated that the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) lost more than 4.3billion USD.
In view of this information, the Government has released an alert to all counties to:
• Be vigilant and enhance surveillance especially at the border,
• Activate rapid response teams to support identification of any suspected cases and making prompt reporting
• Screening of at-risk population s including travelers, truck d rivers, bush meat handlers and health care workers
• Sensitize the community to identify suspected cases
• Sensitize health care workers on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, case management and sample management
• Mobilize all the relevant stakeholders to initiate prevention, prepared ness and response measures and development of county EYO contingency plans.
As the Ministry 1akes up these measures, and whilst we do not wish people to go into any panic, I call on members of the public to take heightened precautions while visiting Uganda as well as Democratic Republic of Congo. The general public is also advised to watch out for any person presenting with acute onset of feyer and any of the following signs, especially if in contact with persons with history of travel from Uganda and/or Democratic Republic of Congo within the previous three weeks;
• Abdominal pains
• Sore throat
• Measles like rash
• Red eyes
• Bleeding from body openings.
I f you come across such a person, notify the nearest health facility or administrative officers like Assistant chiefs or call the following hotline numbers immediately: 0729 47 14 14 or 0732 35 35 35.
The Ministry of Health is committed to limiting public health threats and shall remain vigilant to ensure that Kenyans are well informed and protected against any such threats including infectious diseases and that the citizens continue to receive quality health services.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Kenya.