Health officials explain Bunyangabu Ebola case

Health workers wear protective gears against Ebola. PHOTO | FILE

Health officials from Bunyangabu District have said the new Ebola virus disease case is of a fourth-year medical student of Kampala International University.

The District Health Officer, Dr Richard Obeti, said the patient, who is being managed at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital was among the health workers who were attending to Ebola patients at Mubende Hospital.

Dr Obeti said the patient was in contact with Dr Mohammed Ali, who succumbed to Ebola on Saturday morning at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital.

He said on September 24, the student travelled from Mubende to his village in Gatyanga A1 in Rwimi Town Council, Bunyangabu District. 

“As he was coming home, he came with his wife who works in a refugee camp in Kamwenge District. They met in town and came together at home on boda boda but the wife is negative,” Dr Obeti said.

Dr Obeti said the patient developed headache, fever and started vomiting on September 27. 

“When he became unwell, he decided to take himself to the facility for testing, his samples were taken together with that of his wife, they were isolated until Saturday when results returned and he was positive,” he said.

Dr Obeti said the patient had gone home to supervise his construction site.

“As taskforce, we have listed seven contacts of the patient, including the wife, we are now monitoring them at home, in case they develop signs and symptoms we shall take them to hospital for testing,” he said.

The director of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, Dr Alex Adaku, said they are now managing six cases of health workers, where six were evacuated from Mubende last month and one died on Sunday.

“This student brought himself here at our facility for testing, he was working with Dr Ali and other health workers who contracted Ebola and are admitted to our facility, they were all working in Mubende,” he said.

However, Dr Obeti said the district lacks an ambulance since it became operational in 2017 after being carved out of Kabarole.

“As district, we don’t have any ambulance to evacuate any Ebola suspects. Since 2017, the ministry has not allocated an ambulance to us, we are only relying on Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital,” he said.

Dr Obeti said their health facility of Kibiito, which is at the level of health centre IV,  lacks an isolation centre.

He said they reactivated their taskforce and emphasis has been put on Rwimi Town Council where there is a confirmed case and they have started training VHTs for contact tracing.

The spokesperson in the Ministry of Health, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, said by October 2, the cumulative confirmed Ebola cases were 43 after two new cases were confirmed in Kassanda and Mubende.

He said there was no new death and cumulative deaths were still nine.

In Kyegegwa, the district surveillance officer, Mr Ronald Mugabi, said by Monday, of the three confirmed cases, one was still admitted to Mubende, another was discharged on October 1, while one died.

He said of 19 Ebola suspects they had picked from Kyaka II refugee camp and Bugongo Town Council, 16 were discharged after testing negative while three are still waiting for their results.