Strange disease kills two in Kagadi

Friday May 24 2019

Members of Kagadi Ebola Task Force b

Members of Kagadi Ebola Task Force bury the remains of the children. Photo by Alex Tumuhimbise  

By ALEX TUMUHIMBISE AND FRANCIS MUGERWA

Kagadi -Two children have died of a strange disease which presented symptoms similar to those of the Ebola virus.

The victims of the strange disease are 10-year-old Jovia Natukunda and David Niwagaba who was nine months old.

They were children of Mr Valence Byaruhanga, a resident of Kikonda village in Kiryanga Sub-county, Kagadi District.

They died on Thursday.

They were passing out blood from the mouth and the nose which symptoms are similar to those caused by the Ebola virus.

Their death has caused fear among residents in a district that was hit by an outbreak of Ebola in 2012.

The Kagadi Ebola Task Force led by the District Surveillance Officer, Mr Selevano Thembo, went to the area to investigate the matter.

Wearing protective clothes, the team carried out the burial as one of the precautionary procedures in cases of suspected contagious diseases.

“When people see blood coming out of their sick relatives, they tend to take it as a serious disease and our team went to investigate,’’ Mr Thembo said.

He said that they got blood samples from the bodies which will be taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for analysis.

‘‘Our district is at risk because of the outbreak of the Ebola disease in DR Congo,” Mr Thembo said.

Diseases which present with signs and symptoms similar to those of Ebola include; Rift Valley Fever-RVF, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever-CCHF and Marburg fever.

In 2018, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever outbreak was confirmed in neighbouring Kakumiro District in Nkooko Sub-county. It claimed one person.

 In late April, the Ministry of Health gave Shs146 million to Kagadi District for Ebola preparedness activities.

The activities include coordinating the preparedness activities, strengthening surveillance, capacity building in contact tracing, laboratory diagnostics, infection prevention and control, clinical management of patients including psycho-social care.

Other activities include safe and dignified burials, enhanced risk communication and community engagement, and cross-border surveillance are also part of the activities.

Kagadi is among the 22 high risk districts due to the cross-border movements between Ugandans and DR Congo citizens.

The district shares a boarder with DR Congo where the disease has claimed more than 1,000 people in North Kivu province.

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