Outbreak of Typhoid in Kampala

The Ministry of Health and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) would like to inform the general public that there is an outbreak of Typhoid in Kampala and some parts of the neighbouring districts of Wakiso and Mukono.

The confirmation comes after a thorough investigation into reports initially of a strange disease among individuals working at Qualicel, Nabukeera Plaza, and Total Petrol Station on Namirembe Road. The first victim to be noted was admitted at Namungona Hospital and later passed on the following day.  The report was received by the Ministry of Health on 6th February, 2015

The report also indicated that 20-30 more people were complaining of symptoms similar to that of the deceased. Symptoms include fever and abdominal pain, cough, joint pains, general malaise and dizziness.

The Ministry of Health and KCCA thereby constituted a team of Epidemiologists and Surveillance Officers to investigate the strange disease affecting people in the central business district.

So far, two people have been confirmed to have died of the disease while 11 more deaths are still being investigated for the same. Laboratory tests have on a good note however ruled out possible link to any Viral Haemorrhagic Fever.

As of today, a total of 142 individuals identified with signs and symptoms of Typhoid are being investigated. So far all divisions in KCCA except Nakawa have reported a case. Most cases have been identified among people working around Nakasero Market, Disableds’ Market, New Taxi Park, Allen Road, Nabukeera Plaza, Qualicel and Total petrol station on Namirembe Road. But most of these reside in Kibuli, Namungoona, Lugoba, Kanyogoga, Bulenga and Nateete, all Kampala suburbs. Some are from Wakiso, in areas neighbouring Lubaga Division in Kampala. The cases have been reported among the young men aged between 20 and 29 years of age.

Currently, there are eight confirmed cases out of the laboratory samples taken.  Many more are still being tested.  All cases are currently being managed as outpatients at Kisenyi Health Center IV where a treatment center has been set up.

Investigations so far reveal that people are being infected from something they are eating/drinking from their work stations. The cause of infection is suspected to be a contaminated drinking water source around the affected areas. Investigations are still going on to find out the exact source by testing all sources of water including water being sold on the commercial market.

Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever caused by bacteria from a group called Salmonella. The main type that causes human disease is called Salmonella typhi, although some few cases are caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacteria that usually causes a less severe illness. The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area.

The disease is transmitted through eating food/drinking water that is contaminated with faeces. It is important that people are treated early to avoid possible spread of the disease.

Government interventions

  1. A response team has been put in place by the Kampala Capital City Authority and the Ministry of Health to respond to the outbreak.
  2. Kampala Capital City has designated a treatment place at Kisenyi Health Center IV to handle any confirmed or suspected case. All patients are being managed as outpatients. No admissions are being done.
  3. The National Medical Stores (NMS) has disbursed all the necessary drugs to the center for quick and better management of cases
  4. Health workers at Kisenyi Health Center IV have been trained on handling suspected and confirmed cases

The Government urges the public to take the following measures to avert the further spread of the disease;

  • All people with symptoms of fever that is resistant to anti-Malaria drugs should report toany nearby Health facility for better treatment. Ministry of Health is assessing the situation in other districts.
  • All people are urged to observe personal and community hygiene to avoid possible spread of the infection
  • The public is advised to be careful and sure of the source of their drinking water. People are advised to boil the water themselves or treat it with a chlorine based drinking water disinfectant such as Water guard, PURE and others which are approved.
  • The public is further advised to avoid eating cold foods; Vegetables should be cooked properly while fruits should be washed with safe water.
  • Health workers are advised to consider Typhoid as one of the possible causes of illness among patients presenting with fever.  Typhoid fever should be considered among all negative for malaria by either RDT or microscopy.

Two hotline numbers have been set up to report any suspected cases. These are 0794661095 or 0794661128 in KCCA.

The Government calls upon the public, especially those in the central Kampala business area to stay calm as all possible measures are being undertaken to contain the outbreak.

I thank you all

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