Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | All the 42 people who had been identified as contacts to the first confirmed Ebola case from Masaka district have been discharged from institutional quarantine after showing no symptoms of the deadly virus.
These had been identified as Ebola suspects during the contact tracing process by the joint Ebola Taskforce as part of the response interventions, after the first Ebola-positive case which was registered from Kimanya-Kobera division, Masaka city.
Dr. Patrick Kasedwa, the Masaka City Health Officer who also coordinates the local surveillance activities says the discharged persons have been monitored for the last 21 days, which are regarded as the incubation period of the virus. He says all the 42 people did not present with clinical signs of the deadly hemorrhagic fever.
At the beginning of last month, the Ministry of Health recorded the first Ebola case after a female patient who had been admitted at the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital tested positive for Ebola Virus, and eventually died two days later.
Dr. Kasendwa indicates that they traced people that were believed to have been in contact with the patient or her close family members, who attended to her before her death, such that they can be put under quarantine as they monitored for the deadly virus.
He explains that some of the suspected contacts had been put under institutional quarantine at a local guest house while others preferred self-isolation, and have all been monitored for at least 21 mandatory days, and have shown no symptoms.
“Even after being discharged, we are going to continue with follow-up monitoring to ensure that they do not have anything to worry about,” he says. The discharge of the contacts come about a week after samples taken from the eight health workers who attended to the patient on her admission into the hospital also tested negative for the Ebola virus.
Ronald Katende, the Masaka City Resident Commissioner who is also Chairperson of the Joint Ebola Taskforce in the area indicates that despite the registered sign of relief, they are proceeding with vigorous public awareness campaigns to ensure that the communities do not relent on being required vigilance and observing the standard operating procedures.
He explains that they have sent out public health educators with printed materials and loudspeakers, which they are using to create community awareness and as well as mobilizing the public to stick to preventive measures.
Notably, the first confirmed Ebola case in Masaka was registered from a female patient who had traveled from Kawala in Kampala to visit her relatives who leave in Kimanya ward, Masaka City.
However, the circumstance surrounding her death have since created controversy between health workers and family members who have since disputed reports that she had Ebola, claiming that the victim had suffered a miscarriage. But according to reports at the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, the patient died of Ebola.