WHO Obtains Laboratory results for Dead Man from DRC to assure Anxious people in Uganda
Kampala, 16th February 2019: - The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday provided scientific evidence assuring national authorities and the general public that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) results of the 46-year-old male who died in DRC and the body repatriated back to Uganda for burial were indeed negative for Ebola.
This followed “inconclusive” results obtained by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) from samples using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology. The PCR results were inconclusive because the body had been treated with formalin that interferes with the Polymerase Chain Reaction techniques.
While the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) had been used to obtain the negative results that were shared earlier, further testing using PCR is required to confirm the patient status. In this particular case, the PRC could not confirm the status due to the reason mentioned above.
This situation created some discomfort among some people but especially to health workers who were observing the 13 people in Tororo who brought the body from DRC. To assuage anxieties WHO through its system obtained and presented the Ebola test results performed from Bunia Hospital in DRC where the person died. This test result is Negative and this should put to rest any speculation over the matter.
Miss information about the disease and reports of stigmatization of the 13 people who picked the body are hence completely without any scientific basis. It should be noted that stigmatization of people especially in disease outbreaks is counterproductive as it compounds the problem creating more health and other social challenges in the community.
As of today, the Ministry of Health supported by WHO has deployed community engagement and psychosocial officers to Tororo district to address Ebola Virus Disease knowledge gaps, rumours and isolated incidents of stigmatization. This is yet another opportunity to create EVD awareness at grassroots level in the community. Capacity building in case detection, surveillance and case management are also planned for Tororo and other districts.
There is NO confirmed Ebola Virus Disease case in Uganda. Active case search continues in all communities, health facilities and on formal and informal border crossing in all districts, especially in the high-risk areas. Alert cases continue to be picked, isolated, treated and blood samples picked for testing by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).
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