Africa CDC calls for enhanced Ebola surveillance, control measures

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Addis Ababa, Sep 22 (IANS): The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called on Ugandan authorities to intensify surveillance and control measures amidst a new outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country.

The Africa CDC’s call on Wednesday came a day after Uganda declared the outbreak in Mubende district after the death of an infected person, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The Africa CDC recommends all neighbouring and affected districts to enhance their disease surveillance and laboratory testing, implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures,” it said in a statement.

The health agency called for heightened target risk communication and community awareness about the disease prevention and control measures and emphasized that it will work closely with all at-risk neighboring districts, member states, and partners to coordinate and align emergency preparedness and response activities across the region.

It also noted that investigations regarding the possible sources of infection and list contacts are going on, in which preliminary investigation reports have revealed six unexplained community and health facility deaths in the same district.

Adding that a team of experts from the Africa CDC Regional Coordinating Centre (RCC) and headquarters have been deployed to the Uganda Ministry of Health, the health body said it is preparing to deploy more experts to support contact tracing and outbreak investigation in the affected region.

The AU Commission, through the Africa CDC, said it will continue to work with the health authorities in Uganda to deploy more emergency response support, supplies and equipment as needed.

According to local authorities, the person was admitted to Mubende regional referral hospital on September 15 after presenting Ebola symptoms and died four days later.

Meanwhile, six other deaths were currently being investigated after local communities reported people passing away after strange illnesses.

Last month, Uganda intensified surveillance on its western border after the World Health Organization announced an Ebola case in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Ministry said the risk of disease spread was high in 21 bordering districts.

Uganda has had more than five Ebola outbreaks in the last two decades, mostly along its western regions close to the DRC, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes various symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, generalised pain or malaise, and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

According to the WHO, the fatality rate for those who contract Ebola ranges from 50 per cent to 89 per cent, depending on the viral sub-type.

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