Nairobi/Geneva - 29 July 2012 - A deadly outbreak of hemorrhagic fever Ebola has been confirmed in Kibaale district, Western Uganda by the Ministry of Health of Uganda. So far, 13 people have died and 7 more cases have been diagnosed. Kibaale district has a total population of about 646,700 people and is located at around 200 kilometres west of the Ugandan capital Kampala, and around 50 kilometres from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Uganda Red Cross is part of the National Emergency Taskforce that has been set up by the Ministry of Health to stop the disease from spreading more widely. The Red Cross has mobilized volunteers and staff who are ready to support with case tracking and community awareness. 'This outbreak is occurring in the same area where the Red Cross is already responding to the growing crisis caused by the influx of Congolese refugees fleeing violence in their country’ said Charlie Musoka, Regional Operations Coordinator in Nairobi for the International Federation of the Red Cross who is preparing to travel to the affected region.
There is no treatment or vaccine against Ebola, one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind. It is transmitted by close personal contact and, depending on the strain, kills up to 90 percent of those who contract the virus.
There have been several Ebola outbreaks recorded in Uganda since the first one in 2000, leaving many people killed and much more traumatized. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
The government of Uganda is coordinating needs assessments and response efforts aimed at containing the outbreak. A team composed of a medical doctor and a Disaster Management specialist from the International Federation of Red Cross is being dispatched from Nairobi to immediately support Uganda Red Cross efforts.
For further information, please contact:
Catherine Ntabadde , Uganda Red Cross Head of Communication, Kampala: + 256 772629567
Nancy Okwengu, IFRC Senior Regional Communication Officer, Nairobi: +254 733 632 946
Jessica Sallabank, IFRC Senior Media Relations Officer, Geneva: +41 799481148