Ebola scare: Bukoba authorities caution people over eating bush meat

KAGERA Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Toba Nguvila, has cautioned people at border areas in Missenyi district’s wards of Minziro, Kashenye and Mutukula, to avoid eating bush meat as a precaution over the deadly Ebola disease.

Missenyi district borders neighbouring Uganda where the Ebola virus was reported in Mubende district, claiming about 21 lives, so far.

Mr Nguvila made the statement over the weekend when he made an impromptu visit to the Mutukula border where he was accompanied by a team of health experts from the Ministry of Health which was deployed to give education and sensitize people on how to avoid contracting the disease.

“I have been informed that some of the people from Miinziro and Kashenye wards frequently use bush meat. My appeal is that people should stop using bush meat to avoid contracting Ebola disease,” he said.

Kagera region shares borders with four East African Community (EAC) member states, namely Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya across at the Lake Victoria.

“Leaders in Muleba, Biharamulo, Ngara, Karagwe, Kyerwa, Bukoba and Missenyi districts have started an awareness campaign by distributing postures and brochures with information on Ebola symptoms to the public through Primary Health Care (PHC) committees.

People should, however, remain calm while also taking precautions by boiling drinking water and use toilets,” he said.

Mr Gerase Ishengoma, on behalf of the Kagera Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Kaniki   Issessanda, on the other hand, explained that Tanzania has, until now, not documented any case of Ebola, but insisted that the country was not immune from the viral disease due to the possibility of cross-border transmission from the affected countries.

“The fact that no case has been reported in our country doesn’t mean we are safe. We must strengthen our border surveillance,” he said.

Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Godwin Mollel, was quoted saying that Tanzania has not recorded any Ebola case so far, but all necessary measures are in place to contain the killer disease.

“The Ministry has instructed health officers at regional and district council levels to intensify health awareness campaign, closely monitor the disease, do professional examination and ensure the availability of necessary medical and preventive equipment at their respective areas,” he said.

Equally, he advised the public to take precautions against this disease including washing hands with clean water and soap, avoid touching the body or discharges of an Ebola patient and avoiding  unnecessary movements (especially) visiting areas affected by this disease.

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uganda recently declared an Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) outbreak in Mubende district, in the central part of the country, following a confirmed case in Mubende Regional Referral Hospital.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. “It has six different species, three of which (Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire) have previously caused large outbreaks. Case fatality rates of the Sudan virus have varied from 41 per cent to 100 per cent in past outbreaks,” reads the WHO website.

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