Authorities in Kasese District have ordered the closure of all eating places that do not meet minimum health standards following a cholera outbreak that has left four people dead and 50 others admitted to hospital.
The district health officer Yusuf Baseka said the sale of cooked food and juices along the roads and in markets has also been temporarily banned until the spread of the disease has been contained.
“The disease is spreading very fast. It is now in Bukonzo West and East and Busongora North and South constituencies. Four people have so far died and by this evening we have about 50 cases admitted at various health units in the district,” Dr Baseka said on Saturday. He said the disease was first reported in September in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fishing villages of Kyavinyonge and Kasindi Pole along Lake Edward which are adjacent to Kasese.
The two eastern DRC fishing villages correspond in cross-border business with Uganda’s fishing village of Kayanzi where the first cases in Kasese were reported during the last week of October.
Dr Baseka, who met health workers from the eastern DRC at Kasindi on Friday before briefing the press in Bwera, said a joint strategy had been drawn by the two sides, which he said will involve intensive educating the people along the common border villages on how to prevent infections.
Bwera Hospital Administrator Pedson Buthalha said a temporary isolation centre had been established at Kayanzi Fishing Village. He said children aged between one-and-half and 10 years were among the affected but most of those admitted so far were aged between 22 and 49. “But we have a problem of lack of protective gears, spray pumps and polythene bags to wrap the dead,” Mr Buthalha said.
The district health educator, Mr Gabriel Tibuhwa, said although the district boasts of 84 per cent latrine coverage, the latrines are not up to the minimum standards.