While Uganda is battling with Ebola, another outbreak of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever is also here.
24 people have been placed under close monitoring by health authorities in Amuru District following an outbreak of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF).
The individuals are close contacts of a victim who succumbed to the viral disease late last month. The victim, a resident of Lulai village in Opara sub-county died on September 24 after presenting with symptoms of high fever, headache, vomiting, and joint and back pain.
Test results on samples taken from the victim turned positive for the highly viral disease at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe.
Stephen Milton Okello, a senior Clinical Officer, and the Acting Amuru District Surveillance Focal Point person said in an interview Friday that they had been closely monitoring contacts of the victim.
He notes that although one close contact had developed symptoms similar to the viral disease, test results conducted in the past two weeks on his blood sample tested negative.
However, health officials on Friday last week visited the deceased village where samples from 24 people who were in close contact with him were taken for further tests to ascertain whether there is a presence of the disease in the area.
“We have taken blood samples from the people who were close to him and some health workers who helped him. We expect to get the results to tell us whether we still have the disease in our midst or not,” said Okello.
According to the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Africa CDC, the incubation period for Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever depends on the mode of acquisition of the virus and it varies from 1 to a maximum of 13 days.
Okello also notes that veterinary officials in the district picked up blood and tick samples from animals in the area including dogs, cows, sheep, and goats among others to find out if the outbreak could have come from the animals.
This according to Okello follows the latest revelation they got from locals that the victim who succumbed to the disease had before his death slaughtered one of his cows that died mysteriously and consumed its meat.
“We got information that the victim began falling ill a few days after eating the meat of the cow that died, we are not sure whether the disease could have been transmitted through the animal and this is why we want the test to confirm,” says Okello.
Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCF) according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), is primarily transmitted to people from infected ticks and livestock animals.
However, human-to-human transmission can also occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected persons and has a case fatality rate of 40 percent.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Senior Public Relations Officer at Health Ministry in an earlier interview confirmed an outbreak but noted that it was a public health threat.
The outbreak of CCHF in Amuru comes at a time the country is battling the deadly Ebola Sudan Virus that has claimed 19 lives with 54 cumulative confirmed cases according to the Health Ministry.