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Ebola suspects hospitalized in fourth Ugandan town

Friday, 8 December 2000 6:05 (ET)

Ebola suspects hospitalized in fourth Ugandan town By TIMOTHY KALYEGIRA

KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 8 (UPI) -- Three people suffering from Ebola-like symptoms have been found in Uganda's second-largest town for the first time, raising new fears Friday that the deadly disease is spreading.

The state-owned New Vision newspaper reported the three patients were taken to the main hospital in Jinja town, 80 kilometers east of the capital of Kampala. The senior hospital administrator, Ronald Segawa, said the patients were admitted in critical condition but were improving gradually.

Segawa said tests were under way to determine whether the patients were suffering from the killer Ebola disease.

"Blood samples of these patients have already been taken from them and have been sent to Kampala for testing. We hope to get the full results within 24 hours," he said.

To date, the Ebola outbreak has been confined to Gulu town, 360 kilometers north of Kampala, Masindi town 300 kilometers northwest of Kampala, and Mbarara town, 280 kilometers southwest of Kampala.

Unconfirmed reports from Jinja said six Ebola victims had been admitted to the hospital. The reports said two of the victims died Thursday.

The disease has killed 156 people, including 14 health workers, in Uganda since September.

In Rwanda, Uganda's neighbor to the southwest, a 16-year-old boy died Monday of symptoms similar to those of the Ebola fever. He was buried in the Nyamirambo cemetery on the outskirts of the capital of Kigali.

Rwanda's health minister, Ezechias Rwabuhihi, said blood samples from the boy would be taken to the World Health Organization laboratory in Gulu to test for the Ebola virus.

Uganda's neighbors Kenya and Tanzania have taken strict precautions against the Ebola outbreak, and there has been no report so far of any Ebola infection within their territories.

The strain of Ebola in Uganda is similar to the one first identified in Sudan in the late 1970s.

-- Rachel Gibson (, December 10, 2000

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