High-risk Ebola suspect still missing – WHO

High-risk Ebola suspect still missing - WHO
Ebola isolation unit at Bwera hospital

A man believed to be a high risk Ebola suspect is still missing and reportedly evading health monitoring personnel according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The suspect is believed to have had contact with the three confirmed Ebola cases – all from the same family.

The high risk suspect is said to have travelled to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to bury his father, a pastor who succumbed to Ebola recently. He then crossed back into Uganda with his family using the porous at Mpondwe market in Kasese district.

The three confirmed Ebola cases that he had contact with have all passed away. The latest victim, a three-year old boy passed away last week as he was being repatriated back to DRC to receive treatment. It is now seven days since the first confirmed case was announced.

According to WHO, efforts to trace the male suspect since last week have been futile. Benjamin Sensasi, the WHO health and communications officer says contact tracing teams are still looking for the suspect.

According to Sensasi, it is possible that the missing Ebola suspect crossed back into DRC using one of the many porous entries. The other family members that the high risk suspect is believed to have entered Uganda with, including a six month old baby, maid plus the father of the children were repatriated back to DRC on Thursday last week.

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The four were sent back to receive Ebola therapeutic treatments in case they develop symptoms of the disease. The treatments are not available in Uganda. Ebola is a highly infectious disease that can be spread through contact with body fluids like sweat, blood, vomit, tears and semen of an infected person.

According to doctors, it takes 21 days on average for person infected with Ebola to show symptoms like vomiting blood, bloody diarrhea, abdominal and muscle pains, headaches and fevers. So far, 98 people who had contact with the three confirmed cases or contacts are being monitored by health teams in Kasese.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the senior public relations officer ministry of Health, says that the contacts haven’t shown any Ebola like symptoms.

“We are monitoring all contacts at their homes and so far, none of them has shown symptoms of having Ebola.”

Ring vaccination of all contacts and frontline health workers begun on Saturday at Bwera general hospital. On Sunday, vaccination took place at Kagando hospital and is scheduled to move to other parts of the district and country.