11 January 2013

Uganda: Ebola Suspected in Mubende District

Mubende — Health state minister Sarah Opendi and other senior ministry officials dashed to Mubende hospital Friday morning following suspicions of an Ebola outbreak in the area.

Mubende district health officer (DHO), Dr. Wilson Mubiru said two five-year-old children were admitted on Thursday night while vomiting blood - a symptom that was hurriedly linked to Ebola.

The children were from different families.

Earlier rumours had put the number of patients admitted at the hospital to four and that three had died on spot.

However, Mubiru and the hospital director Dr. Edward Nkrunziza told New Vision online that there were only two patients.

Besides, the doctors have since called for calm, saying that it was unlikely for the patients to be Ebola cases.

"We have forwarded blood tests to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe. Although we are yet to get the results, we highly doubt whether this is Ebola," said Dr. Mubiru.

Save for vomiting, Mubiru said the patients showed no other Ebola-like symptoms.

Dr. Nkrunziza also explained that the patients' condition had "significantly improved" at around 10am on Friday.

The development comes as the health ministry is preparing to declare Luweero district Ebola-free on January 16, if no new cases are registered in the area.

About five people died of Ebola in Luweero late last year.

The declaration will follow the completion of the 42 days countdown period since the last patient was discharged from the isolation Centre.

The ministry has also just declared Kabale and Ibanda districts free of Marburg, another infectious viral disease.

Health ministry Permanent Secretary Asuman Lukwago said his ministry is working with the Environment and Wildlife ministries to ensure that the animals and birds that spread both Ebola and Marburg disease are wiped out.

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