Ugandan officials say they’re now concerned about the spread of Ebola virus in the capital city of Kampala, following the death of a man who traveled there from affected regions.
Minister of Health Dr. Jane Aceng told local media outlets that another 42 people who may have been exposed through contact with the man are being monitored for infection. Aceng said he first visited the Mubende and Luweero districts and, when he became ill, sought out care from a traditional healer.
When the traditional healer was unable to help him, he traveled to Kampala for medical care. He died last Friday at Kiruddu Referral Hospital in the city, using a different name than the one originally given to health authorities who tracked him after he became infected.
Ugandan broadcaster NTV said that despite health worker outreach and communications, some people in the affected regions attribute Ebola-related illness to witchcraft and seek help from traditional healers. In one case, government officials forcibly removed 15 people from Mubende after seven family members were lost to Ebola.
Aceng said there is concern that Ebola will take hold in Kampala and its environs, which are home to 7 million people. Uganda’s Ebola outbreak, confirmed three weeks ago, has claimed at least 17 lives. There are 48 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 people are monitored for the virus.
The Ebola-Sudan strain of the virus responsible for the outbreak hasn’t been seen in Uganda since 2012. A suspected case was identified in neighboring South Sudan, with World Health Organization officials expressing concern over the risk of international spread.
Image: Uganda MOH file