A single measles infection has been found in Kampala Capital City, according to the Health Ministry, despite heightened efforts to eradicate the contagious respiratory disease from the nation.
Without disclosing the precise number of samples tested, the ministry’s director of public health, Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze, stated that the discovery of a single case does not provide enough proof to proclaim an outbreak.
“One case has so far been confirmed. The outbreak thresholds are not yet reached,” Dr Kyabayinze told this publication yesterday.
According to the director, a disease outbreak is declared when three cases have been identified in a particular area. Contrast this with the response to Ebola, a more deadly and contagious illness where it only takes one case to proclaim an outbreak.
Two days after the ministry informed this newspaper that samples had been sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for testing, measles infection was discovered in the nation’s capital. This response came in response to warnings about a possible disease outbreak from school officials in Kampala and Wakiso.
A team of specialists from the ministry was also sent out to different schools in the Kampala Metropolitan Area to collect samples from the affected students.
Dr. Jessica Nsungwa, the commissioner for maternal and child health urges parents to report any suspected instances of the disease to the Health ministry
“The most important thing is for parents or schools to report. We had already controlled measles so it is very important for us to confirm whether it is measles or it is those measles-like illnesses, which also cause rashes,” she said.
The commissioner added: “Once we know [that it is measles], then they [parents] can go into isolating their children [at home] so that they don’t spread, especially to children below six months who are not immunised.”
Dr. Nsungwa clarified that infants younger than six months old are not eligible for the measles immunization.
At the end of this month, Dr. Nsungwa stated that students in Kampala and Wakiso will receive measles vaccinations.