Ugandan authorities have reported 11 more cases of Ebola in the capital since Friday, a worrying rise in infections just over a month after an outbreak was declared in a remote part of the East African country.
Nine more people in the Kampala metropolitan area tested positive for Ebola on Sunday, in addition to two more on Friday, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said on Monday.
A senior World Health Organization official in Africa said last week that Uganda’s Ebola outbreak was “evolving rapidly”, describing a difficult situation for health workers.
Ugandan health authorities have confirmed 75 cases of Ebola since September 20, including 28 deaths. There are 19 active cases.
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Official figures do not include those who likely died of Ebola before the outbreak was confirmed in a farming community about 93 miles west of Kampala.
Fear that Ebola could spread far from the epicenter of the outbreak forced authorities to impose a permanent lockdown, including nightly curfews, on two of the five districts reporting Ebola cases. The measures were put in place after a man infected with Ebola sought treatment in Kampala and died in a hospital there.
The nine new cases reported on Monday follow a similar pattern as they are all contacts of an Ebola-infected patient who traveled from an Ebola hotspot and sought treatment at Kampala’s top government hospital, known as Mulago’s name.
There is no proven vaccine against the Sudanese strain of Ebola circulating in Uganda.
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As of Thursday, Ugandan officials had documented more than 1,800 Ebola contacts, 747 of whom had completed 21 days of surveillance for possible signs of the disease which manifests as viral haemorrhagic fever, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. diseases.
Contact tracing is essential to stem the spread of contagious diseases like Ebola.
Ebola is spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or contaminated materials. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
Scientists don’t know the natural reservoir of Ebola, but they suspect that the first person infected during an outbreak contracted the virus through contact with an infected animal or by eating its raw meat. Ugandan authorities are still investigating the source of the current outbreak.
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Uganda has experienced several Ebola outbreaks, including one in 2000 that killed more than 200 people. The 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people, the highest death toll from the disease.
Ebola was discovered in 1976 during two simultaneous epidemics in South Sudan and Congo, where it occurred in a village near the Ebola River, hence the name of the disease.