WHO says Ebola outbreak in Uganda is ‘evolving rapidly’

A senior World Health Organization official warned Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in Uganda was “evolving rapidly” a month after the disease was first reported in the east African country, describing the dire health situation of workers.

“The Ugandan Ministry of Health has shown remarkable resilience and efficacy,” Dr Matchidiso Moeti, the regional director of the UN health agency for Africa, told reporters. He added that the Ugandan government was “constantly adjusting its response to the difficult situation”.

Although the outbreak has progressed, he said, “a better understanding of transmission chains helps those on the front lines respond more effectively.”

Uganda declared an outbreak of the Ebola virus on September 20, several days after the infectious disease spread to a rural farming community. Since then, Ebola has infected 64 people and killed 24, although official figures do not include people who likely died of Ebola before the outbreak was confirmed.

At least three of the confirmed patients from the outbreak area in central Uganda have traveled to the capital, Kampala, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) away, according to Moeti. Fears of Ebola spreading far from the epicenter of the outbreak prompted authorities to impose lockdowns, including overnight curfews, in two of the five counties reporting cases.

“The numbers we’re seeing represent the risk of spreading within the country and its neighbors,” Dr. Ahmed Oguil, acting director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned in a separate briefing Thursday.

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