Strange disease kills 20 people in Kyotera  

Residents at the burial of Andrew Mugema, a councilor representing Kijonjo Parish at Kasasa Sub County in Kyotera District who succumbed to a strange disease in January. Photo | Ambrose Musasizi

What you need to know:

  • According to the Kyotera District chairperson, Mr Patrick Kintu Kisekuulo, it is not known whether the disease is contagious or not and they can hardly take any chances to allow residents to move to other areas as this may spread the disease.

Authorities in Kyotera District have asked the Ministry of Health to declare a quarantine in two villages of Kasasa Sub County where a strange disease has claimed at least 20 lives in the past three months.

This comes after some residents in the villages of Kijonjo A and Kijonjo B started migrating to other areas, fearing that they could easily contract the disease.

According to the Kyotera District chairperson, Mr Patrick Kintu Kisekuulo, it is not known whether the disease is contagious or not and they can hardly take any chances to allow residents to move to other areas as this may spread the disease.

“We are not sure whether the disease is contagious because we are waiting for the findings from the Ministry of Health. However, people have started migrating to neighbouring areas which has now worried us. We think the best measure now should be, declaring a quarantine as health experts finalise a report on what could be the cause of these unusual deaths,” he said during an interview on Monday.

The victims of the strange disease present signs and symptoms such as; vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and bleeding before dying in a space of two to three days.

Mr Denis Muyunga, the chairperson of Kasasa Sub County, said residents are linking the deaths to witchcraft while others blame it on a strange caterpillar that breeds from coffee plantations in the area and later bites the victims.

“There is a lot of confusion among residents in Kijonjo Parish as some link the deaths to witchcraft while others blame them on a caterpillar which is said to be breeding from coffee plantations. Let health experts come here and help us,” he said.

Mr Muyunga further said that some men who had not officially married their wives have ordered them to return to their parents or relatives to avoid costs in case they die.

Another five residents are said to have got similar signs and symptoms last week and are being attended to by traditional healers in the area, according to Mr Muyunga.

According to the Ministry of Health's latest findings, one of the residents is confirmed to have died of Meningitis.

Ms Odirah Nansamba, the deputy spokesperson Ministry of Health said they are yet to release a conclusive report on the unusual disease.

 “Our worry is that residents are visiting shrines, thinking that the cure will be offered by traditional healers. Let local leaders help us sensitize the communities so that we can contain this problem,” she said.

Ms Nansamba said the ministry had already sent experts on the ground who are working tirelessly to establish the cause of the strange disease and their report is expected to be out this week.

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