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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ebola in Bundibugyo: Tues night Report

The District Task Force responding to the Ebola crisis meets every evening for several hours, and today I went with Scott.  Mostly because I felt so wiped out by the day in general and wanted to stick with him, as well as experience the politics and planning side of the epidemic.  About two dozen people, mostly men, mostly Ugandans except us, MSF, and two Kenyan epidemiologists, gathered in a circle of chairs outside the RDC’s office. Bottom line:  there are a slew of competent and motivated people at work.  The RDC himself serves as chair, and he’s an impressively large and voluminous presence, practical and authoritative, the kind of person you want in charge.  
THE FACTS:
  • cumulative cases as of 5 pm on Tuesday:  90
  • cumulative deaths:  19
  • New admissions: 7; that includes 3 in Kikyo and 4 in Bundibugyo
  • Current admissions:  23 in Bundi, and I think 14 or 15 in Kikyo
  • Positive lab samples:  9, but that will change tomorrow, since there are about 15 samples waiting to be sent on the flight, and the CDC has landed and will be operational with their biohazard level 4 virology lab in Entebbe tomorrow.
  • Identified contacts being followed:  327 (which does not include Scott or me, though the epidemiologist told us to follow ourselves because we should be considered contacts)
  • Subcounties from which suspected cases have originated:  5 (Kasitu 50, Bubukwanga 18, Bundibugyo Town Council 10, Busaru 4, Harugale 3, others unknown).  Note that the case may be counted as arising from a subcounty because the patient’s home is there even if the contact was made elsewhere . . .
THE HEROS:
We chatted prior to the meeting with some of the doctors and others involved.  Dr. Yoti was (as he put it) a young fresh-from-school doctor in the 2000 Gulu Ebola epidemic, and when he survived that he decided to study Infectious Disease as a specialty in South Africa, and now works tirelessly all over Uganda under the auspices of the WHO tracing epidemics and disasters and trying to save lives.  I found him clinically solid, thoughtful, and humane, and the kind of guy I’d hope to have in charge of any patient I cared about.  Rosa, the MSF Medical Coordinator, a nurse with the experience of the 2007 Congo epidemic and the down-to-tacks hard work and confidence to pull off the isolation and care of patients.  She’s spent several days now setting up the isolation wards, arranging for food, water, triage, training teams to man an ambulance to pull in suspected cases safely and another team to safely bury those that die, teaching attendants to protect themselves, as well as managing the patients.  Dr. Ann (MSF) and Dr. Thomas (WHO) are carefully tracking the numbers.  There are umpteen other people pitching in in every way they can.

5 comments:

bethy31 said...

We're praying...

Anonymous said...

Jennifer --

You and your family are in our prayers. Judy and Luke sat behind us in church on Sunday and we were grateful to spend a few moments chatting with them about your situation. Luke is such a mature kid. You must be so proud of the gift he is to your family. We will continue to pray for you and your family here and in Africa!

Alan and Leanne Prothe

Anonymous said...

We are all praying for your safety. ALthough we have never met, it's nice to know that there are people that will stick it out to help others less fortunate.
I left Uganda when I was very small and was planning on coming back this christmas with my family, but this epedimic is makiung me think twice about the risks I would be exposing my family too.
Please stay strong and there are alot of people praying for you and all the hero's there.

Larry said...

Dear Jennifer and Scott,

I am Joel's father from MA. I am so sorry to hear about the death of Dr. Jonah. We are in prayer for his family, for you and your family, and for all the people affected by this terrible disease. We pray that you will remain healthy and that the spread of the disease will be stopped.

Again our prayers are with all of you. Be careful and rest in God's love which is sometimes so difficult to understand.

Larry M

Thinlina said...

You're in my prayers.

I don't want to sound awful, but just in case... could you give the sign-in codes for your blog to someone there to continue blogging or at least informing us around the world if the worst happened to you?
It would be too terrifying if your blog just quieted without the world not knowing what happened.

Condolences to you all for Dr. Jonah!