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Ebola outbreak in West Africa – Uganda takes action

Friday, 1st August 2014

Ministry of Health takes preventive measures on Ebola spread following its outbreak in West Africa with 1,323 registered cases and 729 deaths in the last four months.

The epidemic has since spilled over to Nigeria and we have just received information of a new unconfirmed case in Nairobi, Kenya. This outbreak affected Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia hence the escalating cases and the transmission by international travelers. This has caused panic among Ugandans with a fear that Ebola could spread to Uganda.

The Government of Uganda therefore wishes to clarify on the following;
1. There is no confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda. Media reports of reported case in Kitgum and Kampala districts are false. Any reported case will be investigated promptly and the public will; be informed.

2. I wish to reaffirm that no case has been reported in the country since the outbreak was declared in West Africa. Our National Task force on Epidemics and Disease Surveillance is on alert to watch out on any Ebola alerts throughout the county.

The Ministry of Health will regularly update the country on the outbreak. 
Since July, 2014, the Ministry of Health has undertaken the following measures to prevent the spread of Ebola in Uganda.

1. We have heightened surveillance in all districts. All districts have been directed to be vigilant and look out for suspected cases and alerts for immediate action. Additionally, all districts with border posts have been asked to intensify disease surveillance especially for people with a travel history to the affected countries. 

2. We have intensified screening at Entebbe International Airport. We have set up a health desk to conduct this screening. The exercise targets all people with recent travel of 21 days in any affected countries.  The isolation unit at Entebbe and the airport medical center have been equipped.

3. We have adequate medical and health supplies in all Regional Referral Hospitals.

4. The National Medical Stores (NMS) has stocked the necessary medical and health supplies ready for dispatch to any affected region.

5. A team of experts has already been dispatched to Buvuma Island to ascertain the entry points and give guidance on Ebola control measures.

6. The Ministry of Health has assembled a team of experts to be on standby to be deployed in areas where suspected cases are reported.

Precautions

The Public is advised to limit their travels to any of the affected countries until the situation is contained. The Ministry of Health clarifies that there is no travel bans to the affected countries. In case of any travels, the public is advised to observe the precautionary measures instituted by the respective countries.

The public is further reminded that Ebola is a highly infectious disease, which presents with high grade fever and bleeding tendencies. It is very infectious, kills in a short time but can be prevented. The signs and symptoms of the disease include;
fever, 
vomiting, 
diarrhea, 
abdominal pain, 
headache, 
measles-like rash, 
red eyes, and sometimes with bleeding from body openings.

Ebola can be spread through contact with affected persons and by using instruments and objects that have been used by an infected person. Likewise, a person can get it by touching a dead body of a person who has died of the disease.

The Ministry of Health once again calls upon the public to be vigilant and stay calm as all possible measures are being taken to keep the country safe from the epidemic.

FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY

HON. DR. RUHAKANA RUGUNDA


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