Ugandans quarantined in Nairobi Ebola scaregreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Friday, 24 November, 2000, 02:01 GMT Ugandans quarantined in Nairobi Ebola scare
Reports from Kenya say fifty Ugandans suspected of carrying the deadly Ebola virus are being kept under surveillance by medical authorities in a Nairobi hotel.
The group, who are from the Gulu district in northern Uganda -- the centre of a recent Ebola outbreak -- were in Nairobi for a seminar but checked into the hotel after feeling unwell.
A health ministry spokesman said the Ugandans were not seriously ill, but were being held under tight security to ensure they had no contact with the public.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), November 24, 2000
24/11/2000 17:19 - (SA) Ebola death toll now at 129
Kampala, Uganda - At least 14 more Ebola patients have died in the last week taking the death toll in an outbreak of the deadly virus in Uganda to 129, the Ministry of Health said on Friday.
The deaths occurred in Gulu 360km north of Kampala where the outbreak was confirmed on 14 October, the ministry said in a statement.
No deaths had been reported since 17 November.
Alex Opio, assistance commissioner for national disease control, said the reason for the sudden increase in the death toll was because of the ministry's reporting procedures.
"It's nothing significant - it's a change of frequency of conducting press releases," he told reporters. "It was officially decided (last week) that as the epidemic is becoming less serious, the Ministry of Health would update the public only twice a week."
Opio said 15 new cases of the virus had also been confirmed in Gulu during the last seven days, and four new cases had been identified in Masindi district, 160km northwest of the capital.
The total number of people who have been infected with Ebola is now 344, but the outbreak was still being contained, Opio said.
"The 14 latest deaths still keep the death rate below 50 percent, which is the normal fatality rate for Ebola," he said, adding that the death rate was 30 percent. "The epidemic in Masindi is still confined to one family and our hope is that it won't spread outside."
Authorities had hoped to contain the disease in Gulu, but four people have died of the virus in Mbarara, 280km southwest of Kampala, since 2 November, and another four more have died in Masindi since 12 November.
The cases in Mbarara and Masindi have been linked to a soldier and a woman who had been in Gulu and then left.
The fever caused by the Ebola virus is transmitted through body fluids. The disease can cause severe haemorrhagic fever and is often fatal.
Kenya expels Ugandans Meanwhile, Kenyan health authorities said more than 100 Ugandans would be expelled because they were a potential health risk.
Kenyan Minister for Health Services Amukowa Anangwe said that out of 137 delegates attending a conference in the capital, Nairobi, they had identified 63 from Gulu district and 42 from neighbouring Kitgum. The remaining 32 came from outside Uganda, which borders northwestern Kenya.
"Let me be very emphatic that none of the delegates here, none, have shown any symptoms but we are taking preventive measures and we are leaving nothing to chance," Anangwe told reporters. "It is the opinion of the Kenyan government that the delegates from Gulu could be high risk contacts of Ebola."
The Ugandans would be escorted by police back to Uganda in buses on Friday, Anangwe said.
He said the delegates, who were due to discuss insecurity in northern Uganda, had entered Kenya without following the proper procedures put in place by health and immigration officials when the Ebola outbreak was confirmed.
The conference, which began on Friday in a Nairobi hotel, was supposed to have taken place in Arusha, Tanzania, but after officials from that country refused the Ugandans entry, the delegates decided to hold the meeting in Kenya, Anangwe said.
Health authorities would be monitoring the Nairobi hotel and its staff for signs of Ebola, he said.
More than 25 000 people have passed through the Kenya-Uganda border and have been screened for signs of Ebola since 14 October, Anangwe said.
"The Kenyan government is on red alert and 14 Kenyans who attended funerals in Gulu area are still held under quarantine," he said.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 24, 2000.