On Monday this week, after registering a cumulative increase in the number of Ebola cases in Kampala, the Uganda Medical Association President, Dr. Samuel Oledo, advised the government to institute a lockdown to contain the deadly virus from spreading.
Many people criticized UMA's suggestion, saying the country is still recovering from the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the economy.
Speaking to Sarah Apollo on the Brunch Talk Show, Dr. Samuel Oledo remarked that the country can only avoid a lockdown if people maintain the SOPs, report cases early and if the government establishes community quarantines.
“It is quite catastrophic if people treat patients from home and fail to report contacts of the patients. If you decide to treat patients from home, every other person risks catching Ebola. If the community reports the cases, follow SOPs set up by the Ministry of Health, a lockdown will be unnecessary." he said.
Dr. Oledo elaborated that the highly contagious nature of the disease calls for early measures such as community quarantines that include the prevention of inter-divisional movement, adding that the lockdown is mandatory to reduce the spiking number of cases.
“Kampala is a mass area of over 3 million people, with everyone having activities running through the city, coming in and out for different engagements. In this scenario, it becomes catastrophic if there are cases sparking up and people hiding those infected and trying to manage them from homes,” he said.
He added that institutional-based quarantines should be set up based on community zones that restrict movement from division to division and limit the spread of the virus and fast track of infections.
Early symptoms of Ebola include; fever, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue. As the disease transits to the second stage, the patients experience internal and external bleeding, blood oozing from the gums, eyes, and ears, in the stool, and through the anus.
At that point, Dr. Samuel says the survival rate of someone found with secondary symptoms is very narrow because, at this stage, most of the body organs are shutting down.
The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as blood, saliva, stool, vomits, urine, and sweat from an infected person, getting into contact with infected animals, whether dead/ alive.
The breeding period is usually between 2-21 days, and a person can spread the virus upon showing symptoms.
Dr. Oledo advised the public, “please do not self-medicate.” “This is not Covid 19, where funny remedies were mixed. Ebola has no specific treatment. The community can identify and report cases early because 85 percent of the cases that show up early survive.” he said.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1 pm on RX Radio.