The Ministry of Health has commenced investigations into claims that a 46-year-old Uganda male succumbed to Ebola in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on February, 8, 2019.
Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng said the 46-year-old, who has been working in DRC for about 8 years as a construction mason, reportedly presented with Ebola-like symptoms.
“He fell sick in November last year and was admitted in Bunia hospital where he stayed until when he died last week. According to the death certificate, he succumbed to heart failure and pulmonary Tuberculosis,” said Aceng in a statement on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Health surveillance team working with security agencies was able to track the vehicle carrying the body and was also able to catch up with the 13 family members moving the body upon arrival in Tororo.
Immediately, the Ministry of Health dispatched a medical team to get samples for viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) testing and also conduct a supervised burial.
The body was transported into the country on Monday night through Zombo district up to Petta Sub-county in Ayago, Tororo District.
Aceng said the house where the body is being kept has been condoned off and the 13 individuals who got into close contact have been quarantined.
“The Ministry of Health appeals to the general public to remain calm as we wait for results from sample tests from the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe,” said Aceng.
The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which if not treated early is often fatal.
It 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.
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 (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
Aceng said the relatives and friends of the deceased are advised not to get into contact with the body but allow medical teams to conduct a supervised burial today.
“Ministry of Health would like to assure the general public that Uganda has not yet registered any confirmed case of Ebola ever since the counterpart Health ministry in DRC declared an outbreak on l ” August, 2018,” said Aceng
“As a ministry, we continue to conduct preparedness activities to keep away the Ebola Virus from spreading into the country.”
She emphasized that active case search continues in all communities, health facilities and on formal and informal border crossing in all districts especially in the high-risk ones.
Alert cases continue to be picked, isolated, treated and blood samples picked for testing by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).
The vaccination exercise has been done in 10 districts. Since November 7, 2018, 3587 front-line and health care workers have been vaccinated in; 119 health facilities and 13 border points of entry in the high risk districts.