Health worker in Uganda dies of Ebola, raising toll from virus to 10

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Uganda on Wednesday confirmed the death of a health worker from Ebola, bringing the total number of fatalities from the highly contagious virus to 10.

The latest death comes two weeks after the government declared an outbreak.

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Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero said that a 58-year-old anaesthetic officer had died of Ebola early on Wednesday.

“The late Margaret is the fourth health worker we have lost in the current Ebola outbreak,” the minister said on Twitter, following the deaths of a Tanzanian doctor, a health assistant, and a midwife.

According to the health ministry’s last update on Monday, the total number of cases identified in the East African nation stood at 43.

Since the initial outbreak was discovered in the central district of Mubende, infections have been found in Kassanda, Kyegegwa, and Kagadi.

But President Yoweri Museveni has vowed not to impose any lockdowns to tackle the disease, saying last week that there was “no need for anxiety.”

Museveni said some 19 others classified as probable Ebola cases had also died, but said they were buried before they could be tested for infection.

Ebola is an often-fatal viral haemorrhagic fever named after a river in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it was discovered in 1976.

Human transmission is through bodily fluids, with the main symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding, and diarrhoea.
Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban environments.

People who are infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear, which is after an incubation period of between two and 21 days.

There is currently no licensed medication to prevent or treat Ebola, although a range of experimental drugs are in development.

Uganda, which shares a porous border with the DRC, has experienced several Ebola outbreaks, most recently in 2019 when at least five people died.

The DRC last week declared an end to an Ebola virus outbreak that emerged in eastern North Kivu province six weeks ago.

The worst epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 killed more than 11,300 alone. The DRC has had more than a dozen epidemics, the deadliest killing 2,280 people in 2020.

Read more: WHO pushes two Ebola treatments found to boost survival rates

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