Medics Concerned By Grasshopper Dealers as Masaka Registers First Ebola Death

The Ebola Surveillance Team at the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital is concerned about the current grasshopper season given the Ebola outbreak that has affected several districts in central Uganda.

The Ebola Surveillance Team is concerned that the operations of grasshopper trappers and vendors may increase the risk of spreading Ebola to the communities, especially at a time when the hospital has confirmed the first Ebola death.   

Dr. James Elima, the superintendent of Masaka Referral Hospital, says that they registered their first Ebola death when one of their patients who was admitted to the Emergency ward on Monday succumbed to the virus. According to Elima, the deceased was admitted with compilations related to miscarriage and passed on shortly after she was transferred to the Entebbe-based Ebola Treatment Center for further management.   

Dr. Elima explains that the positive case emerged at a time when the local communities are already engaged in the seasonal grasshopper business, which involves several people crowding in one area, hence increasing the risk of spreading the contagious virus.    

He says that the situation now requires the people involved in the grasshopper business to exhibit a high level of vigilance and strict observance of the standard operating procedures for purposes of mitigating the apparent threat. 

Dr.Elima says that the hospital has intensified its surveillance mechanisms and routine screening procedures to ensure that Ebola suspects are identified as soon as they arrive to eliminate the risk of spreading the virus to other patients.

Charles Tumushime, the Principal Administrator of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, says that their patients’ records indicate that the deceased had traveled from Kabowa zone in Kampala City, and was visiting her parents in Kimanya cell in Masaka city. 

He says that before reporting to the hospital, the patient had sought treatment from a local clinic in Masaka City, which means she had several contacts beyond her closest family members. Tumushime says that together with the district surveillance team, they have started tracing the contacts of the deceased, such that they can also be screened for Ebola and accorded proper management.   

Ronald Katende, the Masaka City Resident Commissioner, says he has summoned the area task force meeting to agree on the plan for mitigating the threat, which has already presented itself in the area. He explains that they are going to heighten public sensitization campaigns to encourage the communities to shun any activities that expose them to risks of contracting the virus.         

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