Ebola sickens 8 more in Uganda; doctor among latest deaths

Ebola testing with pipette
Ebola testing with pipette

IAEA, Dean Calma / Flickr cc

Over the past 3 days, Uganda's health ministry has reported 8 more Ebola Sudan cases, along with 2 more deaths, with officials also announcing that a doctor is among the fatal cases.

Since the outbreak was first announced on Sep 20, Uganda continues to report a steady stream of new cases, but so far, the illnesses appear to be limited to hot spots in the west central part of the country near Mubende.

The new developments lift the country's overall total to 62 cases, 27 of them fatal. Of the 62 cases, 43 are lab-confirmed and 19 are listed as probable. Of the 27 deaths, 9 were in lab-confirmed patients, and 18 are classified as probable.

In its latest update on Twitter today, the ministry said 24 people are in treatment for their infections and 882 contacts have been identified for follow up.

Doctor from Tanzania dies

Over the weekend, Uganda Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, MBChB, MPH, announced the first death of a doctor, Mohammed Ali, MD, a 37-year-old from Tanzania who tested positive for Ebola on Sep 26 and died while receiving treatment at an isolation center at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital.

Ocero said Ali is the second healthcare worker to die in the outbreak. The other is a midwife from St Florence Clinic who is listed as a probable case. The woman died before she was tested.

In another new development, the health ministry announced that a mobile lab has been deployed to Mubende Regional Referral Hospital to support virus testing and speed the turnaround of results.

The outbreak is Uganda's first involving the rarer and slightly less lethal Ebola strain in more than a decade. (Though it's still a very deadly strain, with case-fatality rates ranging from 41% to 100%, according to World Health Organization data.)

Though Uganda has a strong capacity for handling Ebola outbreaks, global health officials have feared that a dramatic spike in cases or an expansion to other areas, such as Kampala, could overwhelm the country's healthcare system.

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