Uganda battles the deadly Ebola Virus

Prevention Guidelines
November 17, 2022

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever, is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals (such as fruit bats, porcupines and non-human primates) and then spreads in the human population through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

Symptoms of Ebola

The incubation period – that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms – is from 2 to 21 days. A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they develop symptoms.

Symptoms of EVD typically progresses from dry symptoms which include:

• Fever

• Fatigue

• Muscle pain

• Headache

• Sore throat

This is followed by a progression of wet symptoms which may include:

• Vomiting

• Diarrhoea

• Rash

• Symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function

• In some cases, both internal and external bleeding (for example, oozing from the gums, or blood in the stools).

• Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

PREVENTION GUIDELINES FROM MINISTRY OF HEALTH, UGANDA

The Ministry of Health in Uganda has been very proactive in issuing guidelines to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus to the citizens.

1.    WASHING OF HANDS FREQUENTLY

It is important and very critical to reinforce the hand hygiene messaging – a reminder to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and clean water. In the absence of water and soap, the use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is recommended.

2.    SOCIAL DISTANCING

Maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between people especially in gatherings. The ministry emphasizes that this is even more imperative especially when interacting with anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

3.   AVOIDANCE OF TOUCHING EYES, NOSE AND MOUTH

Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to the eyes, nose or mouth and that is how the virus enters the human body.

4.    PRACTICETHE RESPIRATORY HYGIENE

Covering of mouth and nosewith a bent elbow while coughing or use of tissue while sneezing is encouraged. The tissues are to be disposed immediately.

5.   INCASE OF FEVER, COUGH AND DIFFICULTY BREATHING, PERSONS ARE ENCOURAGED to SEEK MEDICAL CARE EARLY

Staying at home is an option for those not feeling well and in case one develops a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seeking medical attention, and calling doctors in advance is highly recommended.

World Health Organization (WHO) ADVICE on the Ebola Virus

Successful Ebola outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, including clinical management, community engagement, surveillance and contact tracing, and strengthening laboratory capacity.

Implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in health care (e.g., hand hygiene, training of health workers, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, waste management, environmental cleaning, and disinfection etc.) with ongoing monitoring and supervision for implementation is required to reduce risks of health care facilities amplifying the outbreak. Ensuring the provision of safe and dignified burials, supporting IPC in community settings (including adequate WASH facilities, hand hygiene capacity and safe waste management) and community engagement and social mobilization are essential to prevent and mitigate ongoing transmission.

The Preparedness and operational readiness in neighboring countries

The Ministry of Health in the six neighboring countries(Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and the United Republic of Tanzania), national and international partners, and the WHO are supporting actions in order to prepare for a possible Ebola Virus outbreak. These include the activation of multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms for Ebola, refresher training of rapid response teams, refresher laboratory training, infection prevention and control at health care facilities, activation/strengthening of surveillance systems for Ebola, community engagement and risk communication, screenings at points of entry (PoE) and assessment and reinforcement of case management capacities, among other activities.

 

For furtherinformation on the public health response in Uganda by the Ministry of Health,WHO, and partners, see the latest situation reports jointly published by the Ministry of Health and the WHO Regional Office for Africa: https://www.afro.who.int/countries/publications?country=879.

 

For more information on daily statistics:https://www.health.go.ug/ebola/

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-63080543

 

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