Circulating Flu-like Illness Not COVID-19 Related- MoH

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there is an ongoing wave of a viral influenza or flu illness circulating within the population.

Refuting claims made on social media and several media reports that people are being hospitalized with a strange flu-like illness, Dr Henry Mwebesa the Director General of Health Services said in a statement on Friday that though the viral infection is commonly affecting children below five years of age and the elderly, they haven’t had an increase in hospitalization due to the on-going influenza.

He says the illness is characterized by running nose usually presenting with clear mucus, frontal headache and intermittent fevers, dry cough and general body weakness, which symptoms may persist for a couple of days before complete reduction.

According to the ministry, this trend is consistent with the seasonal influenza pattern that has two annual peaks that coincide with the rainy seasons.

“These happen in two seasons with two peaks. The first season is February to June, peaking in March while the second season is August to November peaking in September.

These peaks are attributed to the virus surviving because of humidity, precipitation and high populations interactions in urban areas”, the statement reads in part.

The ministry has also urged individuals who suffer such symptoms to seek proper care including testing for COVID-1-9 and checking for Malaria which may also present with similar symptoms.

They however note that the circulating viral infection is not connected to COVID-19 as there is currently no evidence of any COVID-19 resurgence in the country.

At Mulago hospital for instance, doctors report recording a confirmed case of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization only once in a while.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference earlier, Dr Christine Sekajja a Physician at the hospital said what they are seeing more instead are people reporting with long –COVID or post-COVID lung disease.

She says that because of the few cases, the hospital has resolved to incorporate COVID-19 into routine care and patients who occasionally show up are treated from the lung disease ward.

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