Sunday, December 5, 2010


Date: Sun 5 De 2010
Source: Sunday Vision [edited]

The mysterious disease that has devastated parts of Acholi and
Karamoja sub-regions for close to a month could be human plague.
Kitgum district LC5 chairman, John Komakech Ogwok, quoting sources
from the World Health Organisation, said on Friday evening [3 Dec
2010] that preliminary tests point at the plague. "Information from
the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that the strange disease
that has been disturbing us seems to be plague. But the tests have
ruled out Ebola or Marburg [haemorrhagic fevers] as had been widely
suspected by people here," he said.

Speaking during a book launch at the district council hall, Ogwok
said further tests were still being carried out to ascertain which of
the 3 types of plague [bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and
pneumonic plague] could be infecting the people. Human plague is
transmitted by fleas that move on rats and other rodents. The
symptoms are said to be similar to the ones associated with a strange
disease that broke out in Abim about a month ago and has now spread
to Agago, Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader districts. Those infected manifest
symptoms of headache, stomach-ache, bloody vomiting and diarrhoea and
also cases of blood seeping through most of the openings in the body.
The last known report of the human plague disease in Uganda was
reported in Arua District in 2004 and Nebbi in 2006.

Meanwhile, one more person in Kitgum, a 70-year-old man, died on
Thursday [2 Dec 2010] at St Joseph's Hospital from the mysterious
disease, bringing to 9 the total number of people who have died due
to the disease, and a total of 16 people infected, as of Friday [3 Dec 2010].

[Byline: Wokorach-Oboi]

Communicated by:
Andrew S.
Philadelphia, USA

[The number of fatalities attributed to this still undiagnosed
disease has fluctuated from 36 on 29 Nov 2010, to 8 (approximately)
on 1 Dec 2010, 20 on 3 Dec 2010, and now 9 in the current report. The
only certainty at present is that this is not an outbreak of
Ebola/Marburg-like haemorrhagic fever. A previous suggestion that
amoebic dysentery was responsible appears to have been discarded and
replaced by information attributed to WHO suggesting that the disease
is plague, which has not been seen in Uganda since 2006.

On the basis of the limited descriptions of the disease so far
available, plague would seem an unlikely cause and a book launch a
curious venue to communicate the information. The plague that kills
is pneumonic, and there has been no description about cough
hemoptysis, etc. There is also no mention of buboes in others. For
these reasons, we will continue to carry this thread as undiagnosed
disease until there is official and verifiable confirmation of a diagnosis.

The districts in the Northern Region of Uganda affected by the
outbreak can be located using the map at
<>. The
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Uganda can be accessed at
<>. - Mods.CP/DK]

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