In a bid to avert further spread of the deadly Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Kabale, authorities in the western Ugandan district have banned all public gatherings, including church crusades.
The ban takes immediate effect. Kabale district chairman, Patrick Besigye, told The Observer yesterday that since the virus has no treatment, the most effective way of fighting it is to control its spread.
Marburg haemorrhagic fever was confirmed in Rwabihondo village, Kitumba parish, in Kabale last week and has claimed five lives from one family in a space of one month.
“We have also suspended graduations at Kabale University and Independence day celebrations for the district,” Besigye said.
Kabale University’s graduation ceremony was scheduled for October 27, while the district’s Independence day celebrations were due October 31. Besigye further revealed that pupils from families suspected to have Marburg virus have also been stopped from attending school.
“The schools and markets will keep operating until we assess the situation,” he said, urging the public to respect the ban.
Dr Patrick Tusiime, the Kabale district health officer, urged the public to take precautionary measures as one of the best ways of guarding against the Marburg virus. Besigye said four Marburg patients, including a relative of the family where five people died, have been admitted at Rushoroza health centre III, which has been designated as an isolation unit.
“The families of the dead are being monitored from their respective homes,” he said.
Health experts are also monitoring some 40 people suspected to have had contact with the five killed by the deadly virus. Kabale has put in place several committees to respond to the disease. They include the Marburg district task force, with smaller, manageable specialized committees: the case management committee, surveillance committee and logistics committee, among others.
“We meet every morning and plan for the day and also meet in the evening to evaluate,” Besigye said.Meanwhile, Dr Jane Aceng, the Director General of Health Services, in a statement issued on Monday, said health experts in Mulago hospital are still monitoring a woman who tested positive for the Marburg virus. The woman is related to the five people who succumbed to the disease in Kabale and is in a stable condition in the isolation room at Mulago hospital.