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Uganda contains Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

By Ronald Musoke

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that Uganda has contained the Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) that broke out a month ago in the northern district of Agago.

As a result, all the isolation facilities have been closed.

According to a press statement released on Sept. 18, no suspect has been admitted or confirmed in the two isolation facilities at Kalongo Hospital in Agago and in Mulago National Referral Hospital over the last three weeks.

During the outbreak, the two centres admitted a total of four confirmed cases and recorded two deaths; with one dying at Kalongo while the other passed away at Mulago Hospital.

The disease was declared in Agago District on Aug. 16 after results of one person, a male farmer from Baroma village, Atece Parish in Omot sub-County tested positive of disease caused by the tick-borne virus.

Two more cases were also confirmed in Kampala. However, there have been no new cases reported since Aug. 21.

This has meant that activities, including contact listing, suspect monitoring and sample collection have been scaled down in the two districts of Kampala and Agago where the outbreak was declared.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever is primarily transmitted to people from ticks that feed on the blood of both wild and livestock animals such as cattle, goats and sheep.

However, human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.

CCHF has a case fatality of up to 40%.

The disease is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia.

The National Taskforce has now embarked on field investigations to obtain in depth epidemiological information on the cause of the outbreak.

According to a statement signed by Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Director General of Health Services, the Ministry of Health remains on alert and continues active surveillance for all Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever suspected cases in Agago, Wakiso and Kampala districts.

The ministry is also working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and there are plans to undertake a programme in Tick control and meat hygiene in areas at risk.

According to WHO, there is no vaccine available for either people or animals.

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