Ebola outbreak locks down 2 districts in Uganda

PHOTO: Two Uganda districts go on lockdown to battle Ebola outbreak. (via Africa News)

An Ebola outbreak in Uganda has forced a three-week lockdown for two districts. The outbreak has recorded 58 infections with 19 deaths already, though authorities suspect that there are many more unseen infections and fatalities. Mubende is the epicentre of the outbreak and that district, along with the Kassandra district next to it, has been locked down.

Yesterday Ugandan President Museveni blocked all movement in and out of the two districts for three weeks. Only cargo trucks carrying vital supplies will be allowed enter or exit. Curfew is being put into effect to battle the Ebola outbreak, while entertainment venues, nightclubs, bars, and places of worship will all be closed for 21 days.

The president had previously been opposed to extreme measures like lockdowns. He spoke on television to urge the public to adhere to the rules and reassure them that such harsh steps were necessary and not long-term.

“These are temporary measures to control the spread of Ebola. We should all cooperate with authorities so we bring this outbreak to an end in the shortest possible time.”

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The Zaire strain of Ebola swept through West Africa between 2013 and 2016 and killed 11,000 people. While it is deadly, there is currently a vaccine to protect against it. On the other hand, the Sudan strain infecting people in this outbreak has no approved vaccine currently.

Fearing some pushback to Ebola restrictions, the president announced orders to arrest anyone who refuses to isolate after being identified as possibly being infected. He also outlawed traditional healing techniques instead of medical treatment. Traditional healers have been sought in previous outbreaks by infected people and have in turn become sources of Ebola clusters.

Although the outbreak is small, it is deadly and needed to be addressed swiftly and strongly. The first death was a 24 year old man in Mubende with six of his family members also dying subsequently. One death was recorded this month in the capital city of Kampala, but it was someone who had travelled from the infected district. Health authorities are still considering Kampala free from Ebola.

Contaminated material or bodily fluids can spread Ebola through direct contact. Those infected experience diarrhoea and vomiting, and sometimes bleeding or internal bleeding. It can be associated with malaria, typhoid, or other sicknesses. The incubation time can be as short as two days or as long as three weeks.


Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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