Ebola death toll rises to 113 in Uganda

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Ebola death toll rises to 113 in Uganda

November 15, 2000 Web posted at: 10:27 AM EST (1527 GMT)

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) -- The death toll in Uganda's Ebola outbreak has risen to 113 after three more people died in the last two days, but no new cases have been reported, a health official said Wednesday.

The three deaths occurred in Gulu, 225 miles north of Kampala, where the outbreak was first confirmed on October 14, said Sam Okware, head of a national task force set up to deal with the epidemic.

Authorities had hoped to contain the disease in Gulu. But in the last two weeks, cases have been confirmed in two districts hundreds of miles from the town.

Four people died of the virus in Mbarara, 175 miles southwest of Kampala, since November 2. And in the last three days, officials confirmed four more deaths in Masindi district, 100 miles northwest of Kampala.

The cases in Mbarara and Masindi have been linked to a soldier and a woman who had been in Gulu and then left.

No other cases have been reported in either place.

ALSO Ministry of Health Uganda MESSAGE BOARD Are you concerned about emerging infectious diseases like Ebola? INTERACTIVE Trace the history of the Ebola virus The highly contagious virus, which initially has the symptoms of a common cold, is spread through bodily fluids.

Health experts are monitoring 150 people, including seven Kenyans, who may have come into contact with the Ebola virus at funerals for three of the Masindi victims.

"The figure of 150 is good for monitoring purposes, but this does not mean that all of them actually got in close contact with those who died," Okware said.

The Kenyan Ministry of Health said Tuesday that the seven Kenyans had been identified and were under quarantine in their homes near the border with Uganda.

In many parts of Uganda, it is customary to wash the body of the deceased. Afterward, mourners dip their hands in the washing water as a sign of solidarity and shake hands with other mourners.

Ebola can cause severe hemorrhagic fever and is often fatal.

Its early symptoms are similar to the flu, which has led to many false reports. No one knows where the virus exists between outbreaks or where the disease originated.

Okware said 323 cases of Ebola have been recorded and that 191 people have recovered.

There is no cure for Ebola, but patients aggressively treated with reverse dehydration have a good chance of survival.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 15, 2000

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