Not less than five people in Mbarara District have been confirmed dead after contracting Rift valley fever from being in contact with infected animals.
According to the Director in-charge of Bwizibwera Health Centre IV, Dr Richard Atuhairwe, the disease was detected in people after subjecting them to tests.
“It was detected in animals about six months ago but it had not been detected in people,” Dr Atuhairwe explained.
He added: “But in the last one month after the tests were taken from people who were dying in the villages under unclear circumstances, we found out there was an outbreak, which had crossed from cattle to people.”
Dr Atuhairwe said about 30 positive cases were confirmed following tests from the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe. Of these, five have since died.
“We want to tell people that they need to ensure that they control some of these things that lead to the spread of diseases, including consuming half cooked milk and meat,” he said.
Dr Atuhairwe assured that measures to contain the disease have been put in place.
The District Veterinary Officer (DVO), Dr Andrew Akashaba, said by the end of January, the disease had been reported at two farms in Rwanyamahembe Sub-county were about 50 cows were infected.
Dr Akashaba said they are sensitizing people to stop eating meat of animals that have died of unknown causes.
“You should only eat meat of an animal which has been inspected before slaughter and people should buy meat from recognised outlets,” he said.
Rift Valley Fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever that is most commonly seen in domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and can also cause illness in people. It is caused by the Rift Valley Virus.