Adjumani, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four people have tested positive and 9 others hospitalised following an outbreak of cholera in Adjumani District. The confirmed cases are currently admitted at Nyumanzi HC III in Nyumanzi Refugee Transit Centre in Dzaipi sub-county.
Adjumani District Health Officer Dr. Dominic Drametu explains that the cases are among asylum seekers from Sudan’s capital in Khartoum who crossed to Uganda at Elegu’s border point of entry on Sunday.
Drametu says that the day they crossed into Uganda, they vomited and passed watery stool which prompted them to seek medical attention at Vitality Medical Centre, a private facility at Elegu town council, in Amuru district.
According to Drametu, they were notified by the Elegu Port health focal point person who requested emergency support to evacuate the suspected cases to the Nyumanzi isolation unit at Nyumanzi Health Centre III. He says that four out of the five samples transported to the Central Public Health Laboratory in Kampala for investigations tested positive.
“On January 21, 2024, at around 6 pm, Mr. Lamot Loius Patrick, the Port health focal point person notified Adjumani of 14 suspected cholera cases detected at Elegu Point of area neighbourhood at Vitality Medical Centre,” Drametu said.
The District authorities attribute the outbreak to the poor health services in the conflict zones and transit which exposes asylum seekers to several epidemics including cholera.
Paul Olony, the Adjumani district surveillance focal person, says that they have not recorded any death related to the disease since the four suspected cases tested positive last week. Olony also says over 80 contacts of the cholera cases have been traced and are being followed up at the Nyumanzi reception centre.
“82 contacts of the cholera cases have been traced and are being followed up at Nyumanzi reception centre,” Olony noted.
Adjumani district has a population of approximately 457,754, of these, 218,954 are refugees due to internal conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan according to statistics from the district health Office.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio Cholera according to the World Health Organisation. It can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea and the severe forms of the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.
Cholera remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development. Researchers have estimated that each year there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths worldwide due to cholera.