‘Eye-bleeding fever’ outbreak confirmed in Uganda

Uganda's health minister, Sarah Opendi

HEALTH bosses have confirmed they are facing an outbreak of the “eye-bleeding fever” after four people died of the suspected disease in weeks. Uganda’s health ministry also admitted it is facing the risk of a large-scale explosion of the viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF).

VHF causes victims to suffer a burning fever before beginning to bleed from orifices including their eyes, anuses and mouths.

It comes after a girl, nine, was reportedly killed by the infection Uganda, and three people died in neighbouring South Sudan of similar symptoms.

Uganda health minster Sarah Opendi confirmed emergency response teams are now being deployed to the districts of Nakaseke and Luweero.

She also identified the mystery disease, saying tests have revealed the infection is Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF).

Today, health minister Opendi said: “Results from Uganda Virus Research Institute tested positive for the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever and negative for other viral Hemorrhagic Fevers like Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley Fever and Sosua.”The confirmation comes after just two weeks ago the Ugandan Health Ministry denied there was an outbreak.

Positive tests for CCHF came from samples taken from a 9-year-old paitent Kihwoko Hospital.

SARAH OPENDI: Uganda’s health minister confirmed a patient had tested positive for CCHF

“Results from Uganda Virus Research Institute tested positive for the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever”

Sarah Opendi

Experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have already said they were monitoring for an outbreak after reports in South Sudan.

CCHF is spread to humans via tick bites or contact with raw meat and infected animal blood immediately after slaughter.

“CCHF outbreaks constitute a threat to public health services because of its epidemic potential, its high case fatality ratio (10-40%), its potential for nosocomial outbreaks and the difficulties in treatment and prevention,” WHO’s description of the virus reads.

WHO first raised fears of a VHF outbreak in central Africa with a report of a number of deaths in South Sudan.A pregnant woman, and two teenagers all succumbed to a mystery infection along with a number of animals.

However, it is not confirmed whether these deaths are also from CCHF or a separate similar strain of VHF.

Outbreak in the nation could be catastrophic – with South Sudan bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Congo and the Central African Republic.

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