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MUBENDE: Six health workers get Ebola amid lack of PPE gear

The EVD taskforce in Mubende District, the epicentre of the outbreak said the health workers caught the infectious disease from patients.

Medical workers at the emergency section of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital. Photo/Courtesy

MUBENDE, UGANDA: At least six health workers at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital have been taken into isolation for treatment after contracting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), DailyExpress has established.

Of the six workers, three are medical doctors, while two are interns and one is a medical student. The EVD taskforce in Mubende District, the epicentre of the outbreak said the health workers caught the infectious disease from patients.

“There is one intern doctor, and then three senior house officers (doctors pursuing Master’s degree) and one third-year medical student who tested positive,” said Mr. Herbert Luswata, the General Secretary of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA).

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According to Mr. Luswata, the samples of the health workers have since been sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute which confirmed the workers had Ebola.

The district health officials in Mubende, however, did not explain whether the transmission resulted from lack or inappropriate use of protective gear which prompted up to 34 intern doctors to go on striker early this week.

Ms Rosemary Byabashaija, the Mubende Resident District Commissioner said that currently there are 42 people admitted at the Ebola Centre in Mubende with 16 people tested and confirmed to be positive for Ebola Virus. She said that one died bringing the number of deaths at the facility to six, while 19 others died in the villages making 25, the total number of deaths.

“Many people continue to contract this disease as the numbers continue increasing, but the good news is that some are being cured of the disease. We currently have 42 people in isolation, and the confirmed positive cases are 16. We have 26 in emergency units,” she said on Wednesday.

Ms Byabashaija said that at least 300 contact persons have since been traced from the villages and that they have created more space for the suspected and confirmed Ebola patients after an isolation centre was created at Madudu Health Center III.

“We have now embarked on sensitisation campaigns as many locals still believe that Ebola is not real. Some people still believe that signs and symptoms presented by Ebola patients are actually victims of witchcraft and end up going to churches for prayers,” she said.

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Dr Alex Adaku, the Director of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital says that they are waiting to receive the six medical workers for further management.

According to Adaku, the health workers will be managed at the Joint Mobile Emerging Disease Intervention Clinical Capability (JMEDICC) clinic.

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