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Ebola virus: Fears latest outbreak could reach Uganda capital

Ebola virus: Fears latest outbreak could reach Uganda capital
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Uganda has stepped up public health advice after the latest outbreak of the Ebola virus killed 14 people.

Officials are worried that the current outbreak in the western rural area of Kibaale is just 170 kilometres from the capital Kampala.

20 medical workers at a hospital in the city have been quarantined as a precaution, although none of them is showing signs of having the disease.

Health Minister Christine Ondoa says they are widening their search for anyone who may have come into contact with the virus.

“So far we have 34 contacts of health workers who from the hospital. These are being traced for having had contacts with the patients. But the community tracing is also beginning, the number will keep increasing as we trace more contacts.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has advised the public to avoid shaking hands to prevent contamination. Ebola is transmitted by close contact and body fluids and kills the majority of those infected.

Officials have also warned against DIY burials as people remain contagious after they have died.

Fears have caused patients and workers to flee a district hospital in western Uganda where several people are being treated.

“Ebola, even just from the sound of the name – Ebola – it’s frightening, you know, it’s scary. When we hear from the different TV channels, different newspapers, that there’s an outbreak in western Uganda, everybody is scared,” said Kampala resident Moses Kissa.

Ebola first emerged in 1976 and is named after the Ebola River. The largest outbreak killed more than 200 people in 2000.