Over 6,000 patients suffer from ulcer wounds in the province of Muyinga
The first alert concerning the disease was issued in November 2019. To date, the Government data shows that 10,000 people have been infected with ulcer wounds since the end of 2020 in five provinces, including Muyinga, which accounts for a large number of cases. The other provinces notifying similar cases are Muramvya, Gitega, Makamba and Kirundo. This disease, which is not yet well known, was initially investigated as suspect Buruli ulcers cases. Samples have been collected by the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The tests results will allow healthcare providers to better understand the condition and adapt the treatment protocol and a holistic management scheme for patients, who are mostly children. Almost 80 per cent of the diagnosed patients, aged between 0 and 60, are children under 16 years of age. This category of the population is highly exposed to the disease and the reasons are being investigated. To treat the disease, healthcare providers, clean wounds, apply clean dressings to avoid further infection and if the wound is infected, provide antibiotics. Access to soap, slippers and clean water remain key in this type of context and disease. Further investigations will hopefully specify the most adapted prevention measures that could be put in place in Muyinga and in the other areas notifying cases. Recurrences have been reported. The cause remains unknown, however it is assumed they are linked to recontamination or non-observation of the prescribed treatment. Further investigations are ongoing in Muyinga province with the support of MSF, in collaboration with the MSPLS. While significant efforts have been made to combat the disease, other areas are notifying cases with not yet an adapted response, and further synergies between responding partners and the Government in both reporting, managing and preventing cases is encouraged.