Kampala, Uganda – Uganda Ebola A senior World Health Organization official said Thursday that the outbreak was “evolving rapidly” a month after the disease was reported in the East African country, describing the difficult situation for health workers on the ground.
“The Ugandan Ministry of Health has shown remarkable resilience and effectiveness and is (working) constantly to fine-tune the response to what is a challenging situation,” Dr. Matchidiso Moeti, Regional Director of the UN Health Agency in Africa told reporters. “A better understanding of transmission chains helps those on the ground respond more effectively.”
Uganda declared an outbreak of the Ebola virus on September 20, several days after the infectious disease began spreading in a rural farming community. The Ebola virus has since infected 64 people and killed 24, although official figures do not include people who likely died of Ebola before the outbreak was confirmed.
At least three of the confirmed patients from the virus hotspot in central Uganda have traveled to the capital, Kampala, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) away, according to Moeti. Fears of Ebola spreading far from the epicenter of the outbreak have caused authorities to impose lockdowns, including a nightly curfew, in two of the five counties reporting Ebola cases.
“The numbers we are seeing pose a risk of spreading within the country and its neighbours,” Dr. Ahmed Oguil, acting head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a separate briefing Thursday.
While the risk of cross-border contamination does exist, “it’s a manageable risk,” O’Gwell said, adding that the outbreak does not yet entail entering what he called a “full emergency mode.”
Ogwell said Ugandan officials have documented more than 1,800 people infected with Ebola, of whom 747 have completed 21 days of monitoring for possible signs of the disease manifested as viral hemorrhagic fever.
The Ebola virus is spread by contact with an infected person’s body fluids or contaminated materials. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
Scientists do not know the natural reservoir of Ebola, but they suspect that the first person infected with Ebola contracted the virus through contact with an infected animal or eating its raw meat. Ugandan officials are still investing in the source of the current outbreak.
Uganda has experienced several Ebola outbreaks, including an outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2000 that killed more than 200 people. The 2014-16 Ebola outbreak In West Africa more than 11,000 people died, the highest number of deaths from the disease.
Ebola was discovered in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in South Sudan and Congo, occurring in a village near the Ebola River, after which the disease was named.
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