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Uganda: Mistery Disease

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    Posted: June 05 2018 at 2:04pm

Mystery illness kills eight in Uganda

A mystery illness which has killed eight children has been reported in Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. 

Nineteen children, all under the age of 10, have caught the disease, which is thought to be black water fever, a complication of malaria.

The illness is characterised by a high fever and dark black urine. The children also presented with stomach pain, signs of anaemia and other symptoms.  The children were all under the age of 10, with the majority having had several episodes of the illness over the past two years.

The undiagnosed illness was first reported on May 23, when 14 children were initially thought to have contracted the disease. The government then dispatched a rapid response team to the area - the Manafwa District in the east of the country - which then identified 19 cases in total.

The majority of the patients started becoming ill with the disease at just one to two years, with one patient contracting it at just five months of age. Most of those affected - 14 children - were boys.

The Ugandan ministry of health is testing blood and urine samples although there have been no definitive results yet.

Experts believe that the mystery illness could be black water fever, a complication of malaria which usually affects children and leads to massive rupture of red blood cells. This then releases haemoglobin into the blood vessels and into urine, leading to kidney failure and death.

The WHO says that while malaria is endemic in the area health workers should be “open minded” and not assume that this undiagnosed disease is black water fever.

Experts have been sent to the area to conduct surveillance and look for cases both in the community and health facilities.


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