'Disease is in our midst': Uganda confirms 109 Ebola cases, 30 deaths

Residents of the capital Kampala, a city of about 1.5 million people, said they were anxious as outbreaks are difficult to contain in urban environments



Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By Agencies

Published: Wed 26 Oct 2022, 5:41 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Oct 2022, 5:42 PM

The number of confirmed Ebola cases in Uganda has risen to 109 and the outbreak has claimed 30 lives, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said on Wednesday.

Fifteen of the confirmed cases were among health workers, of whom six had died, Aceng told a news conference.

The country's health minister on Monday sought to assure anxious residents that the situation in the capital was under control. President Yoweri Museveni earlier this month ordered Kassanda and Mubende, the epicentre of the outbreak, to be put under lockdown, imposing a travel ban, a curfew and the closure of public places.

But Aceng told AFP Monday: "The situation in Kampala is still under control and (there is) no need to restrict people's movements."

'Disease is in our midst'

Residents of the capital, a city of about 1.5 million people bordering Lake Victoria, said they were anxious.

"It is getting scarier now that Kampala is recording Ebola cases," said Rebecca Nanyonga, a 27-year-old mother of two.

"The government has not done much to sensitise Kampala residents on Ebola," she said. "Parties and music concerts are still held yet the disease is in our midst."

Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, with common symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea, and combatted through time-honoured ways of tracing, containing and quarantining. Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban environments.

Uganda's last recorded fatality from a previous Ebola outbreak was in 2019.

The particular strain now circulating in Uganda is known as the Sudan Ebola virus, for which there is currently no vaccine.

Who has said that clinical trials could start within weeks on drugs to combat the Sudan strain.

The Ebola crisis follows the Covid-19 pandemic, which knocked the landlocked country's economy hard.

"I had relaxed when Covid-19 cases went down. I am now putting back restrictions including visitors to my home," said Ronald Kibwika, a 45-year-old Kampala businessman.

According to Who figures, Uganda had more than 169,200 Covid cases and 3,630 deaths.

"We are at (the) mercy of God if Ebola cases rise in Kampala, because most people don't take health precautions, and health services are still poor," said Kampala businesswoman Anita Kwikiriza, 31.

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