Ebola: Kasese intensifies screening at border points

Kasese district has intensified Ebola screening along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On Tuesday, the regional office for Africa of the World Health Organization (WHO) said one new case of Ebola virus disease was confirmed in Beni Health Zone in the North Kivu Province and 160 contacts of the confirmed case have been identified and their health is being closely monitored.

The epicentre of the current outbreak is close to Uganda’s border to the West.

Patrick Bikansobera Amooti, the surveillance focal person for the lake region in Kasese, says that the latest reports on Ebola outbreak in Congo were worrying and they have re-enforced the local surveillance teams.

He added that they have also maintained routine screening of all diseases of public health concern because fishermen from Uganda interact on Lake Edward with their Congolese counterparts.

Bikansobera who is also the in-charge Katwe HCIII in Katwe sub-county said they have an established isolation unit at the facility that is a first point for handling suspected cases before they are referred to Bwera General Hospital.

He added that they have also re-established community-based disease surveillance teams who are also volunteering in reporting any person with an unusual disease.

Bikansobere however said there is limited space to handle a high number of suspected cases because the isolation centre can handle only two patients at a time.

Valentino Baguma, screening officer at Katwe Landing Site says that all people at the landing site are recorded and their temperatures measured.

Baguma however says there is a lot of reluctance among the local community with some of the fishermen dodging the screening exercise.

Katwe Town Council Mayor John Bosco Kananura says that locals and leaders around Lake Edward are living in fear following reports that some people from DRC continue to dodge the few checkpoints and find their way into Uganda.

In Bwera Uganda Red Cross has intensified the WASH and risk communication and social mobilization interventions to alert the public on how to avoid contracting the Ebola Virus Disease.

Samuel Muhindo the Kasese District Surveillance Focal Person says they are prepared to handle any emergency as it could be reported.

Ebola, is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by Ebola viruses, presents with alert signs and symptoms that include; bleeding through the eyes, nose, gums, ears, and private parts.

Other signs are sudden fever, feeling tired, muscle pains, headache, sore throat, vomiting blood, diarrhea, and rash.

The disease caused global alarm in 2014 when the world’s worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,000 people and infecting an estimated 28,000 as it swept through Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.


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