KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Scores of Ugandans were isolated on Thursday to prevent the spread of a new outbreak of Ebola which has already killed three people.
Uganda has experienced increasingly regular outbreaks of deadly hemorrhagic fevers that have left health officials grappling for answers.
The new Ebola outbreak was confirmed Wednesday in a district 60 kilometers (40 miles) from the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The outbreak comes roughly a month after Uganda declared itself Ebola-free following an earlier outbreak in a remote district of western Uganda. Last month at least five people in a southwestern district of Uganda were killed by Marburg, a hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.
The latest Ebola outbreak, officials say, is of the Sudan strain of Ebola and not linked to the previous one, of the Congo variety, which killed at least 16 villagers in July and August in the western district of Kibaale. In addition to the three dead in the latest outbreak, up to 15 are being monitored for signs of the disease, officials said. They advised against panic after it was revealed that two possible Ebola patients had since checked into Kampala's main referral hospital.
"The Ministry of Health once again calls upon the public to stay calm as all possible measures are being undertaken to control the situation," Christine Ondoa, Uganda's minister of health, said.
Ebola is especially feared in Uganda, where multiple outbreaks have occurred over the years, and news of it can cause patients to flee hospitals to avoid infection. In 2000, in one of the world's worst Ebola outbreaks, the disease infected 425 Ugandans and killed more than half of them in the country's north. Another outbreak in 2007 killed 37 people in Bundibugyo, a remote district close to the Congolese border.
Ebola is highly infectious and kills quickly.