The Health Ministry has turned to the Centre for Disease Control-CDC to establish the strange disease claiming lives in Mubende district. The move stems from the failure by Uganda Virus Research Institute-UVRI to provide conclusive results from the samples of the victims of the hemorrhagic fevers provided for analysis.
The dreaded disease was first reported at Kalezi Village in Kibalinga Sub County in the second week of July and has so far claimed six lives. The victims present with high fever, vomiting and pass out blood among others.
The disease was initially suspected to be Congo Crimean hemorrhagic fever since someone had succumbed to the same at Mubende hospital in May.
Vivian Nakalika Sserwanja, the Health Ministry Spokesperson, says after failing to get conclusive results from the samples submitted to Uganda Virus Research Institute, they have dispatched samples to the laboratories of the Center for Diseases Control in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States.
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Sserwanja notes that the Health Ministry has since dispatched a team of experts including epidemiologists, clinical officer and surveillance officers among others to carry on active case search of possible suspects and investigations.
She says that two more victims presenting signs and symptoms of the dreaded illness have been identified and put into an isolation center at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital. She however says the two have been responding positively to treatment.
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Dr. Bosco Ssendikadiwa, the Mubende District Assistant Health Officer, says they have failed to establish a link between the suspects since they come from different villages and families.
"We strongly believe that there must be a connection among all the victims but we have not found out what it could be, the team of experts is much focusing on this and let's hope that we find out," said Dr. Ssendikadiwa.
The disease has caused panic among residents with some thinking it could be witchcraft. Health officials note that the perception has since frustrated the investigations as some residents have failed to cooperate with them.
Nakalika says the ministry intends to deploy a social mobilization team to sensitize residents on the possibility of a disease other than witchcraft so as to change their perception as they await results from CDC.
Meanwhile, a team from Ministry of Agriculture has also joined the investigations to ensure no stone is left unturned as it has been anticipated that the disease might be connected to food or animals in the area.