Kampala revelers cautioned to be on alert as Cholera outbreak hits town

The health ministry has confirmed an outbreak of cholera in the city suburb of Kabowa in Rubaga division. The outbreak has so far claimed three lives in Kabowa. At the moment, seven people, who include a seven-year-old boy and an expectant mother, have been admitted at China-Uganda Friendship Hospital, Naguru in the isolation ward, where they are receiving treatment.

According to authorities at the health ministry, seven samples were tested at Naguru and two turned out positive. Speaking to New Vision, the health ministry’s senior public relations officer, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, however, said the ministry was waiting for confirmatory tests from the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services at Butabika, Kampala.

The disease was first identified when a woman died following severe diarrhea and vomiting. Naguru Hospital’s director, Emmanuel Batiibwe, told New Vision that the patients were referred to Naguru from Kiruddu Hospital.

“We received seven patients, who were referred from Kiruddu and these presented with cholera signs,” Batiibwe said. The patients were isolated to avoid any contamination. “We have isolated them because cholera is highly contagious,” Batiibwe said.

UGANDANZ.COM has learnt that one of the patients is from Namuwongo in Makindye division.

Signs and symptoms

Cholera is an acute diarrhea disease that can kill within hours if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called vibrio cholera.

Cholera bacteria is linked to poor hygiene. The disease is characterized by watery stool, extreme loss of fluid and severe dehydration. Cholera outbreaks are common during rainy seasons due to contamination of water sources.

Florence Nakyejwe, a resident of Kabowa, said she first got stomach pain and later diarrhoea, as well as vomiting. She became weak and could not walk on her own. She, however, said she is now feeling better. Rose Namagembe and her seven year-old son, Deo Kawere, were admitted to the facility on Thursday, but are still being monitored at the hospital.

The mother and the boy are still weak. Kato Sebuliba said his wife was okay when he left home on Friday morning, but by the time he returned from work, she was having acute diarrhea and vomiting.

“My wife could not walk. I wonder how she got the disease,” he said.

The councilor for Kabowa Zone I, Juma Rubaga, said the area lack toilets and the hygiene is poor. According to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) director of public and corporate affairs Peter Kaujju, communities should avoid dumping garbage in the drainage channels, which he says has caused flooding during the rainy season, resulting in hygiene-related diseases.

According to Dr Batiibwe, one should always boil drinking water, wash hands with soap after visiting the toilet, wash hands before eating anything and draw water from safe water sources.