Five Ugandan Doctors Test Positive For Ebola Virus Disease

Five doctors and an anaesthetic officer have been taken into isolation for treatment after contracting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the line of duty, officials confirmed on Wednesday.

The EVD taskforce in Mubende District, the epicentre of the outbreak, and the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), the national umbrella group for doctors, separately said the health workers caught the infectious disease from patients.

The government, on September 20, confirmed the outbreak of EVD in Mubende after samples taken from a resident, who died at the regional referral hospital a day earlier, turned out positive for the Sudan strain.

This is Uganda’s fifth Ebola outbreak. The first and deadliest was in Gulu in 2000, which killed the lead doctor Matthew Lukwiya.

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The latest wave has so far killed five out of 24 infected persons, the Ministry of Health said.

The Sudan strain fatality rate is between 40 and 90 percent, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). This is several times higher than the country’s three percent case fatality rate of Covid-19, the pandemic that shut down the world for more than a year.

In Mubende, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Ms Rosemary Byabashaija, who as district disaster preparedness head leads the anti-EVD taskforce, said that 26 Ebola patients are in emergency care, while 16 other others in an isolation facility tested positive for the virus.

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“The six health workers, who are among the sixteen confirmed Ebola cases, are responding to treatment at the isolation facility. These are our frontline workers and we pray that they get well soon,” Ms Byabashaija said.

In Kampala, Dr Herbert Luswata, the UMA secretary general, confirmed that five of those infected are doctors.

“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,” he said.

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