Ebola scare: Masaka samples negative

A security officer guards an Isolation ward at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital on Wednesday.


What you need to know:

Victims. Four people have already died with symptoms similar to those of Ebola in Masaka District


Preliminary results from the samples taken from suspected Ebola victims in Masaka Regional Referral Hospital have tested negative, easing tension that had gripped health workers and residents in the area.

The hospital currently has six patients admitted with a strange illness that has symptoms similar to those of the deadly haemorrhagic fever - Ebola and Marburg diseases or Rift Valley fever.

Prior to admission of the patients, the district had registered four deaths with similar symptoms in one-and-half months. The deaths were reported in the parishes of Kasaka and Mazinga in Buwunga Sub-county.

But Dr Stuart Musisi, the district health officer, said they preferred to conduct expert medical tests on the samples taken from the victims to establish the actual type of infection bothering the community.

However, on Thursday, Dr Musisi said the preliminary results from tests taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe have so far tested negative to Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley fever viruses that had highly been suspected.

He urged the public to remain calm as they wait for comprehensive examinations on other possible fevers.
Dr Musisi also appealed to residents to report all similar cases they come across and avoid seeking services of traditional healers.
“Despite the latest good news, the Ministry of Health together with the district and hospital teams, are working very hard to make sure that we control the spread of this strange disease and we find out what exactly we are dealing with,” he said.

Mr Eleazer Mugisha, the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital principal administrator, said despite the negative results, their teams are out tracking reported patients that are still in the community in order to combat the infection.

“Nobody should be hesitant of reporting to us patients with these symptoms. These can only be handled by medical technical teams which are already available to handle any cases that arise,” he said.
Mr Mugisha also said some patients have preferred to go to traditional healers, which may frustrate their efforts of preventing further spread of the disease.

About ebola
According to the World Health Organisation, the Ebola virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads through human-to-human transmission.

Signs and symptoms: Fever, vomiting, red eyes, diarrhoea, headache, measles like rash and sometimes bleeding from different body opening