Reuters reports that eleven more suspected cases of Ebola are in isolation. There are now 36 suspected or confirmed cases.
According to Paul Katwa, head of Health Promotion at the Ugandan Ministry of Health, the government has issued radio campaigns, information postcards and newsletters, and grassroots workers to the area to increase awareness of prevention methods, symptoms, and reporting.
The Ugandan Office of the President confirmed that the strain of Ebola responsible for the outbreak is indeed the Sudan strain. First detected in southern Sudan in 1976, this strain of Ebola has caused five separate outbreaks in Africa. During the 1976 outbreak, 151 of the 284 cases resulted in death, giving this Ebola strain a 53% fatality rate. Shortly after its first appearance in southern Sudan, Ebola-Sudan appeared again in England, when someone was infected in a laboratory. In 1979, Ebola-Sudan appeared again in southern Sudan. Though a smaller outbreak with only 34 cases, 22 of them resulted in death. Ebola-Sudan surfaced again in 2000, but this time in Uganda, and with more ferocity. Of the 425 people infected during this outbreak, 224 of them died. According to the CDC, the risk factors associated with this outbreak were attending funerals of those who had died from Ebola and providing care for the sick without adequate personal protection. Since the 2000 Ebola-Sudan outbreak, there have been two much smaller outbreaks: one in Sudan in 2004, and one in Uganda in May 2011.
The natural reservoir for filoviruses is unknown, as is the pathway between reservoirs and humans. Ebola is believed to be a zoonotic disease, meaning it is spread from animals to humans. Once a human is infected, it can easily be spread to other humans through direct contact with bodily fluids.
Museveni has advised Ugandans to avoid physical contact to prevent the spread of the disease. Kampala has not reported any cases of Ebola, but one health worker who was infected traveled to the nation’s capital and died in a hospital.
The Disease Daily will continue to post updates as the outbreak evolves.