The Ebola virus has reached Uganda

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Ugandan health teams “are not panicking,” says Henry Mwebesa, a physician and the national director of health services, who cites the country’s experience in battling previous outbreaks of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers. “We have all the contingencies to contain this case,” Mwebesa told AP, adding that it would not go beyond the existing patients’ family. The virus can spread quickly via close contact with bodily fluids of those infected and can be fatal in up to 90% of cases. Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s Country Director in Uganda, said: “Ebola is a horrific illness that ravages the human body. This first death, of a child is a sickening reminder of the dangers of this disease.”

Population feels uninformed

Ugandans travelling from the capital city Kampala to Kasese district told DW that they feel people need to be taught more about Ebola. “I can say the government does not put much emphasis on health matters in Kasese, so we have to wake up as Ugandans because this is our country”, one person said. Another commented: “I feel so scared because it is a disease which is so strange. You may not even detect that you are suffering from Ebola unless you are told. The government should put awareness to the public and sensitize them on the signs and symptoms of the disease.”

The district administration and local councils in the affected area have been directed to ensure that any person with Ebola signs and symptoms in the community is reported to health workers and provided with advice and testing. The Ministry of Health said it would set up units in the district and at referral hospitals to handle cases if they occur. Also it will undertake vaccination for those who have come into contact with the patient and health workers at risk who were not previously vaccinated.

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