Published Date: 2012-08-01 13:22:59
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Ebola hemorrhagic fever - Uganda (06): (KI)
Archive Number: 20120801.1224404
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER - UGANDA (06): (KIBAALE)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 31 Jul 2012
Source: SHOTS (NPR) [edited]
The number of Ebola cases in Uganda has increased during the past few days, a spokesman from the World Health Organization tells SHOTS. But the outbreak is still limited to a small region.
"Accumulatively to date, there are 36 suspected or confirmed cases," WHO's Gregory Hartl says. "All cases are in the Kibaale district," a rural region west of Uganda's capital, Kampala. Laboratory tests, conducted by the Uganda Virus Research Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have confirmed Ebola infection in 5 people. The specific strain of the virus is Ebola Sudan, which has caused 5 outbreaks in Africa since 1976, including one in Uganda that killed 224 people in 2000. Ebola Sudan typically kills about 50 percent of people infected.
A team, led by the CDC, WHO and Uganda's Ministry of Health, are now at the scene to determine the scope of the outbreak and then control it. This involves a strategy known as contact tracing. "You take every patient who is infected or suspected of infection and ask who they've been in contact with," Hartl explains. "Then you go find those people and do the same." All people in contact with the virus must be isolated and watched for 21 days, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner says. "Only once you've [i.e. all suspects] gone through 2 21-day periods can you be sure that the outbreak is over." This is a massive undertaking, but it's one of the only options for stopping a deadly virus that has no cure or vaccine.
The current Ebola outbreak 1st appeared at Ugandan clinics in early July 2012, but it was initially confused with cholera. Doctors didn't suspect Ebola until tests for cholera came back negative and a clinician got sick. "In Ebola outbreaks, health care workers often get infected because you touch somebody and can get the virus," Hartl says. Despite this ease of transmission, he says, Ebola rarely spreads outside a small geographic region.
One infected person traveled to a hospital in Kampala, triggering reports that the Ebola outbreak had spread to the capital city. But Hartl says there are no signs that people in Kampala have been infected.
[Byline: Michaeleen Doucleff]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Kunihiko Iizuka
Date: Wed 1 Aug 2012
Source: New Vision [edited]
There is fear and panic going on in Kanungu district following the death of a health worker who was working in Kagadi whose body was transported for burial in the district. The victim is reported to have passed away on Mon 30 Jul 2012, and her body was transported over night to her parents' home in Nkunda village in Nyanga Sub County, Kanungu district, where she was buried hurriedly on Tue 31 Jul 2012 afternoon.
Kanungu district health officer Sister Florence Rwabahima told this reporter that she learnt about the deceased body being transported to Kanungu from Kibaale district after she heard about radio announcements announcing her burial in Kanungu district and tried to block the transportation of the body but failed as her relatives traveled at night. "I tried to block the transportation of the body, advising that she should be buried immediately in Kibale, but my efforts were fruitless," Rwabahima said. Rwabahima expressed concern that if the suspected victim died of Ebola, then it could be contracted by all her relatives who were involved in transporting her body and those who attended her burial in Nyanga. "The people who handled the transportation had no protective gear and must have had contact with the victim, and that is itself enough to pass on the disease," she said.
When contacted, the Resident District Commissioner, Kanungu Canon Ben Rullonga, said that he had ordered the burial of the suspected victim [to be carried out] immediately, but her relatives ignored him and took their time to bury her body according to custom, in the afternoon.
[Byline: Patson Baraire]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Kunihiko Iizuka
[The numbers of confirmed and suspected cases vary in different press reports. So far, the outbreak appears to have been contained, but incidents such as the transportation of one of the initial victims to her home village for burial risk expansion of the outbreak.
Kanungu District is a district in Western Uganda. Like most other Ugandan districts, it is named after its "chief town," Kanungu, where the district headquarters are located. It was estimated that the population of Kanungu District in 2010 was approximately 239 800. A map of the districts of Uganda can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Districts_of_Uganda. - Mod.CP
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1wa6.]