WHO says Ebola outbreak in Uganda is ‘rapidly evolving’

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

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

Even though the outbreak has progressed, he said, “a better understanding of transmission chains is helping those on the front lines to respond more effectively.”

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

At least three of the confirmed patients had traveled from the outbreak area in central Uganda to the capital, Kampala, about 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 nighttime curfews, in two of the five provinces that have reported cases.

“The numbers we are seeing represent the risk of spread within the country and its neighbours,” warned Dr. Ahmed Ogwill, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a separate briefing on Thursday.

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