Tanzania sends team to border amid fears of Ebola in Uganda

Wednesday December 1 2010

By NATION REPORTER in Dar es Salaam

The government is sending a team of medical experts to Kagera region to investigate reports of an outbreak of a deadly disease suspected to be Ebola in border villages in neighbouring Uganda.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Lucy Nkya, said in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that the team will comprise medical experts from her ministry, the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

“You are just breaking the news (on the outbreak of the disease in Uganda) to me. Thanks and I will make sure that a medical team is dispatched to Kagera region as soon as possible,” she told The Citizen in a telephone interview.

She said they will summon his senior lieutenants at the ministry and make immediate arrangements to send the medical team to Kagera region.

Reports from Uganda quoted health officials as saying that a disease that has been killing people Kitgum, Abim and Agago districts could be a new strain of Ebola.

The situation report of November 26 indicates a cumulative figure of 32 cases with fatality rate of 25 per cent since its outbreak in Balang village in Mutu parish in Paimol Sub County, Agago district early this month.

A National Professional Officer with World Health Organization in Gulu, Dr Emmanuel Tenywa said a total of 19 people are currently admitted at an isolation ward in Kalongo Hospital with acute signs and symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, and severe frontal headache sometimes associated with pain in the eye without conjunctivitis and blood stained on their stool.

He said already one of the health workers in the hospital has developed the disease after she accidentally came into contact with a vomit of a patient suffering from the disease.

“The illness thus progresses with patients reporting abdominal pain localized in the epigastrium and as it progresses, patients develop restlessness and mental confusion, aggressive behaviuor and eventually results into coma and death” he said.