Government of Uganda confirms outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic and Rift Valley fevers

The Ministry of Health in Uganda confirmed an outbreak of the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever and Rift Valley Fever in Nakasseke and Luwero respectively. 

Earlier in December 2017, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) confirmed a positive case of CCHF in Nakaseke district. As of January 18, 2018, two confirmed and seven suspected cases had been investigated in Nakaseke district. Three of the seven suspected cases were close relatives of the patient. Samples from the seven suspected cases tested negative for CCHF. 

Regarding RVF, a total of five patients including four deaths have been confirmed in this outbreak. Cases have been sporadic, with no epidemiological link, and are spread out in diverse geographical areas in the cattle corridor. This is the second time RVF cases are confirmed in Uganda.

During a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre, the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng informed the media that the government has employed rapid interventions to manage and control the outbreaks. She also revealed that a National Rapid Response Team of expert epidemiologists, clinicians, veterinarians, communicators and laboratory specialists was deployed in the affected districts to establish and support the response structures.

Additionally, Dr Aceng called for calmness in the general public saying, “The general public is therefore informed that, cooked meat and boiled milk do not transmit the above diseases.” She further called on handlers of these animal products to use personal protective gear. 

In his statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative in Uganda Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, informed the press that Uganda has a very sensitive surveillance system that was able to detect these cases early enough and was able to respond promptly. He added, “Uganda is a signatory to the International Health Regulations (2005) and has complied with the notification requirements for the CCHF and RVF cases.” Dr Yonas appreciated Uganda’s action in managing CCHF and RVF events and keeping the public informed and assured the government of WHO’s continued support to control the diseases.

WHO is supporting the National Rapid Response Team deployed, to conduct further investigation and conduct a robust district response. We further provided 200 Personal Protective Equipment sets and are providing more support for the coordination of response to the outbreak.

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