By Spy Uganda
Medical experts in Uganda have urged the government to impose a lockdown in Kampala to curb the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
Since the onset of the Ebola outbreak on September 20, Uganda has recorded more than 90 confirmed and probable cases including at least 44 deaths.
The outbreak started in a rural part of central Uganda before spreading to other areas, including Kampala, a city of more than 1.6 million.
“Kampala should have restriction of movement,” said Uganda Medical Association (UMA) president, Dr Samuel Oledo during an interview with local media on Tuesday.
“Let us hold Kampala when it is still early. The earlier we lockdown Kampala, the better. Ugandans are still taking it as something so minor. It is catastrophic that right now, people are not even reporting cases,” he added.
The virus that is circulating in the East African country is the Sudan strain, which has no proven vaccine.
Health officials by Thursday last week had documented more than 1,800 Ebola contacts, 747 of whom had completed 21 days of monitoring for possible signs of the disease that manifests as a viral hemorrhagic fever, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tracing contacts is key to stemming the spread of contagious diseases like Ebola.
Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or contaminated materials. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and, at times, internal and external bleeding.
Scientists don’t know the natural reservoir of Ebola, but they suspect the first person infected in an outbreak acquired the virus through contact with an infected animal or eating its raw meat. Ugandan officials are still investigating the source of the current outbreak.
Uganda has had multiple Ebola outbreaks, including one in 2000 that killed more than 200 people. The 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people, the disease’s largest death toll.
Ebola was discovered in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in South Sudan and Congo, where it occurred in a village near the Ebola River, after which the disease is named.