Friday August 8 2014

Suspected Ebola patient isolated in Entebbe hospital

Health workers in protective gear at an Ebola

Health workers in protective gear at an Ebola isolation facility during an outbreak of the disease in Kibaale District in 2012. FILE PHOTO 

By Agatha Ayebazibwe

Health ministry officials have placed a man suspected of suffering from the deadly haemorrhagic fever—Ebola—in isolation at Entebbe Grade B Hospital isolation wing.

The Director General of Health Services at the ministry, Dr Jane Aceng, said the suspect, who is a Sudanese clinical officer, was identified during a screening exercise on Wednesday at Entebbe Airport where he had arrived aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight.

The suspect has been working with the International Organisation for Migrants in South Sudan and had been referred to Kampala for treatment after he exhibited symptoms of Hepatitis B disease.
But according to Dr Aceng, when the man was screened, his symptoms pointed more towards Ebola.
“He had a fever, headache, red eyes and general weakness – all symptoms that qualify one as an Ebola suspect,” she said.

Dr Aceng said the results of the tests, which are being done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, are expected today and that if they turned out negative, the suspect would be let free.
She added that there was no cause for alarm since the suspect came from South Sudan, which has not had any case of Ebola recently.
“We are isolating anybody who has signs. If his results show that he is negative, we will let him go,” Dr Aceng said.

Dr Moses Muwanga, the medical superintendent at Entebbe Hospital, said the patient is being monitored closely as they wait for his test results.
“Although he has signs of Ebola, he remains a suspect until we get his results which we expect in a few hours,” he told Daily Monitor in a phone interview.

Supporting West Africa
This development comes days after Uganda sent a team of its most experienced doctors and nurses to West Africa to help countries that are struggling with an Ebola outbreak there.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the team which is led by Dr Jackson Amone, the commissioner for curative services at the Ministry of Health, will be stationed in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The team includes epidemiologists, public health experts, laboratory experts, medical doctors for case management, coordination and psycho social experts.
Details indicate that the team has been hired for one month although the offer could be extended as need arises.

WHO says by August 1, more than 800 people had died of Ebola in West Africa—which has spread from Sierra Leone to Liberia, Guinea and recently Nigeria.
The last outbreak of Ebola in Uganda happened in July 2012 and killed 17 people, including a nurse in Kibaale District. A total of 24 other people survived despite being detected with the fever.

The disease
Disease: Ebola is a highly infectious disease which presents with high grade fever and bleeding tendencies.

Transmission: According to WHO, the virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola:
Fever, vomiting, red eyes, diarrhoea, headache, measles like rash and sometimes bleeding from different body openings.