ARUA. A medical doctor attached to Arua regional referral hospital has revealed that Arua district has now been placed on high Ebola alert following a case of an outbreak in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Speaking to journalists in his office on Wednesday, Dr Alex Adaku, the Arua Hospital Director confirmed that one person has so far died of Ebola in Ariwara town, Eastern DR Congo just 7km from the Uganda-DRC border of Arua district.

He said the case has now forced management to start subjecting everybody accessing and exiting the hospital to compulsory hand washing.

“The Ebola threat in Congo is real since there has been a case in Ariwara. Ariwara is only 7km away from Arua and this now makes the threat so real to this region,” Dr Adaku said.

“We have now intensified on effective control measures. You can now see at the gate, if you are entering or leaving, you must wash your hands with detergent. All these are measures we have implored to see that we contain this epidemic,” Adaku added.

He noted that as a hospital, they are very keen in screening all cases and taking a detailed history of patients that are coming for treatment at the hospital especially those who travel to Congo where the Ebola is.

Dr Adaku said the hospital staffs have been trained in preparedness and also received some personal protection equipment and other supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO) to start any intervention of the threat.

“We have also identified a place in River Oli Division for managing any Ebola case. So there is really a level of high preparedness to contain any case. We are equally doing a lot of surveillance and education of the masses so that people get to know the signs and symptoms of Ebola and report suspected cases to the nearest health unit,” Adaku explained.

He, however, assured the public that there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Arua hospital at the moment thus allaying fears that one person has already been diagnosed with the epidemic at the health facility.

Dr Adaku instead said the woman who was rumoured to have been admitted with Ebola was just a suspected contact.
“The case which is said to have been reported in the ENT department of Arua hospital is not an Ebola case. When we took the history of travel, we found out that the said lady had travelled from Congo, then we probed further and that is what people are seeing as a case of Ebola but there is no confirmed case in Arua hospital,” Adaku said.

He observed that as a public health measure, all suspected contacts are supposed to be traced, followed up and quarantined, adding that it is exactly what they did on that patient.

According to Dr Adaku, a person suffering from Ebola presents high fever and bleeding through the mouth, nose and ears among other signs.

When contacted on phone, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health Senior Public Relations Officer said a team of ministry officials are set to travel to Arua on Thursday to ensure that all systems aimed at containing the epidemic are in place.

He said the ministry has so far registered three cases of Ebola and all died in Kasese district, Western Uganda. Ainebyoona noted that for the last 19 days, no more Ebola case has been registered in the country.

Reports indicate that the Kasese victims were refugees who went to attend the burial of a relative in DRC and came back to the country with the virus.