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Hepatitis B Unknown But Common in Uganda
©New Vision (Kampala)
by Kikonyogo Ngatya
January 7, 2002

Over 3.5 million Ugandans are unknowingly suffering from Hepatitis B, a liver cancer, Dr Issa Makumbi, the commissioner for health services in charge of immunisation has said.

"This is a silent epidemic that requires urgent attention. The patients don't' think it's a problem because its effects are felt at its advanced stages," he said.

Makumbi said this in Kampala recently.

He said that the findings were from tests carried out on all blood donors throughout the country in recent years.

Makumbi also said that for every 100,000 children below five years, 59 of them suffer from haemophilus influenza, a disease which causes lung and brain damage, also associated with epilepsy.

"Because of this big burden, we are introducing two vaccines- Hepatitis B and H influenza for immunising young children against the diseases," he said.

Copyright © 2002 New Vision, Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Mbarara Panics Over Liver Disease
©New Vision (Kampala)
Simon Mugenyi
July 26, 2003

BLOOD samples from 49 medical staff at Mbarara University Teaching Hospital have been taken to Nairobi for Hapatitis-B-virus test.

Hapatis- B- virus is a liver disease, which is transmitted through getting in contact with contaminated body fluids.

It can also spread through unprotected sex, doctors said.

The assistant commissioner in charge of surveillance in the Ministry of Health, Dr Ambrose Turisuma, on Tuesday said Hapati-A-Virus, which is transmitted through contaminated food and stool, spreads faster than Hapatis-B.

Turisuma said there was no specific cure for the liver disease but giving a victim a lot of fluids and proper feeding could help treat the ailment.

Last week, a nurse Julian Mbabazi died of what was suspected to be Hapatis- B, at the Mbarara University Teaching Hospital.

Doctors were not sure how she got the virus but they suspected she could have contracted it from two children she was caring for.

The children were admitted with a strange illness but after a short stay in the hospital, they died. Mbabazi, who was treating the children, died after a week.

Nurses at the hospital fear they might have contracted the virus.

"The virus is spread just like HIV, except that it kills in a shorter time like Ebola and it is spread through any body fluid," a nurse said.

The hospital medical superintendent, Dr. Placid Mihayo, said the samples were taken to test whether there could be any other person who could have contracted the virus.

Copyright © 2002 New Vision, Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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