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Crimean Congo fever outbreak shouldn’t cause scare- Health Minister

FILE PHOTO: Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is not planning to send teams from Kampala to manage the reported outbreak of Crimean Congo fever in Kagadi district.

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus, transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter. The disease, which is endemic in Africa, has the case fatality rate of 10–40 percent.

The disease is characterized by sudden onset of fever, bruising or rash, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sore throat, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion.

One person has so far tested positive to the disease in Kagadi district. The victim, identified as Fred Tumwesigye, 23, a resident of Kisura Village in Bwikara sub county had been admitted to Kagadi General Hospital since Monday after complaining of fever, headache, abdominal pain and general body weakness.

But Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says that despite the confirmation, there is no cause for panic because the disease is endemic in Uganda and will always occur along the cattle corridor.

Aceng said that they already trained district health officials along the cattle corridor to effectively handle Crimean Congo and Rift Valley Fever.

According to the Uganda Red Cross Society, four suspected cases of the fever had also been isolated at an isolation centre at Kagadi hospital after they developed symptoms pointing the disease.

The public has been urged to be vigilant and check themselves for ticks and remove them immediately after working with animals, avoid getting in contact with body fluids of an infected person and conducting basic hygiene of washing hands with clean water and soap before getting in contact and shaking hands with people in public places.

Uganda last registered an outbreak of the fever in April last year.

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