Ebola infects 6 students in Uganda as fear grows
KAMPALA, Uganda –
The health minister said on Wednesday that six students in Uganda’s capital had tested positive for Ebola, marking a serious escalation of the outbreak declared just over a month ago.
The children, who attended three different schools in Kampala, are among at least 15 people in the city confirmed to have Ebola, according to a statement by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng.
The children were members of a family exposed to the disease by a man who had come from an Ebola-affected district, sought treatment in Kampala and died there, the statement said.
“He was responsible for infecting a family of seven, including neighbors and many others,” the statement said of the traveling Ebola patient. “We were able to get this cluster, plus another, thanks to the Department’s vigilance in contact tracing and field case management.”
Authorities are “monitoring” 170 contacts from the schools the six children attend, it said.
Fears that Ebola could spread far from the epicenter of the outbreak prompted authorities to impose an ongoing lockdown, including a night-time curfew, on two of the five counties that reported outbreaks. Ebola case on October 16. The measures come after an Ebola-infected man traveled to Kampala and died there, becoming the city’s first confirmed Ebola case.
Tracing contacts is key to stopping the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola.
The head of the Uganda Medical Association on Tuesday called on health authorities to impose a shutdown in Kampala, a strict measure that the country’s president previously said he did not want to implement.
That official, Dr Samuel Oledo, told reporters the situation was alarming because some people “didn’t even report Ebola cases”.
Ebola, which manifests as a viral hemorrhagic fever, has infected 109 people and killed 30 since September 20, when the outbreak was announced days after the outbreak began spreading for a year. rural communities in central Uganda.
Ugandan health officials in Mubende district, the epicenter, were not quick to confirm Ebola in part because the disease’s symptoms can resemble those of more common malaria.
Ebola is spread by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or contaminated material. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
There is no proven vaccine for the Sudanese Ebola strain circulating in the East African country of 45 million people.
Uganda has had 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 disease’s largest death toll.
Ebola was discovered in 1976 during two simultaneous outbreaks in South Sudan and the Congo, where it occurred in a village near the Ebola River, after which the disease was named.