Fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease are rising following fresh reports that another ‘suspect’ patient has been admitted at the Sekou Teure regional hospital in Mwanza city.
The patient is suspected to be suffering from severe symptoms that resemble those of the dreaded disease -- less than a week after news earlier broke in Karagwe district, Kagera region, claiming that a patient with similar symptoms was also hospitalized at Nyakahanga designated hospital in the region.
In the wake of last week’s reports from Nyakahanga, the government quickly dispatched a team of medical officers and nurses to the area, all fully equipped to thoroughly diagnose a patient whose symptoms had since not been fully confirmed to be that of the viruses that cause Ebola to date.
According to the Mwanza Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Valentino Francis Bangi, the Mwanza case was first reported at the Sekou Teure regional hospital and later referred to Bugando referral hospital – before the patient was sent back for readmission at the Sekou Teure facility.
The RMO told The Guardian On Sunday in a telephone interview yesterday that his hospital had received a patient on Monday this week who, upon proper diagnosis, was found to be suffering from dysentery and severe abdominal pains. The patient also suffered from urethral strictures, as a result of which he had difficulty passing urine.
According to Dr Bangi, the first onset of strictures often cause ‘mental confusion’ among patients. Such symptoms, he added, also cause ‘fear among the people’ but he has urged them not to panic or to be afraid when they come across such patients.
“It’s a normal disease … despite its symptoms,” he says
He has also dispelled further fears of a possible outbreak of Ebola because his diagnosis on the patient, a young man aged between 23 and 27 years, displayed symptoms that were less severe than those seen in Ebola victims.
“I am 80 percent sure that the symptoms seen in the patient are not those of Ebola …,” he argued.
Even then, the RMO said he had since taken blood samples from the patient and flown them to Dar es Salaam (Friday night) for further investigation. The same samples would subsequently be sent over to a better-equipped facility at the Entebbe medical laboratory in Uganda for thorough medical check-up.
Meanwhile, the Mwanza regional hospital has warned people to take precautionary measures against any possible outbreak of the dreaded Ebola.
Efforts to clarify matters with the Minister for Health and Social Social welfare, Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, bore no fruit because his phone wasn’t answering at first, before it was finally disconnected.
However, deputy minister Dr. Seif Selemani Rashid noted that that “there are so many symptoms which resemble” those of the Ebola disease.
Even then, he added: “Experts in the ministry normally take blood samples from suspected patients for further medical check up in order to prove the presence of the real virus causing the disease … this is what we did with the blood samples of the patient at Nyakahanga hospital … which we received at headquarters (in Dar) last week.”
In view of these development, he asked all people living in ‘suspect’ areas to be calm but still take necessary measures in case of an outbreak.
A ministry spokesperson, Nsachriss Mwamaja, was recently quoted as saying that the ministry would soon announce the results of a blood samples taken from Nyakahanga hospital.