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Back To Vidyya Update: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever In Uganda

Ugandan Ministry Of Health Has Reported 176 Cases, Including 64 Deaths

As of  25 October, the Ugandan Ministry of Health has reported 176 cases, including 64 deaths. A report yesterday from a Reuter's reporter quotes a Ugandan health official who believes that although newly reported cases have held steady at 5-10 per week, the epidemic will continue for the next 2-3 months.

There have been suspected cases reported from several settlements for internally displaced persons in Gulu district and mobile teams of health care workers and volunteers are carrying out case finding and contact tracing in these settlements.  The focus is also on increasing public awareness of the disease and its containment.

A radio communications centre has been established in Gulu. Twenty hand-held radios with a dedicated frequency have been dispersed to the mobile teams who are now able to inform the centre quickly of suspected cases and contacts, request transport for ill persons and request burial teams. 

To date, the National Task Force for the Control of Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers has not confirmed any cases outside Gulu district in Uganda. WHO supports enhanced surveillance but does not recommend any special restrictions on travel or trade with Uganda.

Coordination of response
The National Task Force for the Control of Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers has established the following teams to manage the response to the outbreak:

Participants in Gulu district include experts from the Ugandan Ministry of Health, WHO Headquarters, Regional Office and Uganda Office, WHO Collaborating Centre at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States, Epicentre, France, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) Italy, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) International and Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg.

Field epidemiology
One hundred and thirty-six health care workers and volunteers in mobile teams are implementing active surveillance in Gulu district using a standardized case definition, patient and contact registration forms.  Training of health care workers is ongoing.

Teams have also been trained in the collection and burial of patients.

Case management
The wards in Gulu Hospital and Lacor St. Mary's Hospital are being managed effectively by trained workers and strict barrier nursing is in place.  Training of new nurses is being carried out.

Diagnostic laboratory
The laboratory set up in Gulu district by the WHO Collaborating Centre at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States is operational and diagnostic tests are under way.

Public education
The Ugandan Ministry of Health is using radio, videos, posters and flyers to disseminate health education messages. Public awareness of the disease and its containment has increased. 

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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