Ebola fever spreads to southern Uganda

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The Independent Online

The Ebola fever epidemic which has killed 80 people in northern Uganda since September has now spread to the far south of the country with a confirmed death in the town of Mbarara, health officials said.

The Ebola fever epidemic which has killed 80 people in northern Uganda since September has now spread to the far south of the country with a confirmed death in the town of Mbarara, health officials said.

A soldier who had been based at the army barracks in Gulu, the centre of the epidemic, became ill after moving to the barracks in Mbarara, said Sam Okware, director general for health services in Uganda's ministry of health.

"He was in quite bad shape, and there was a high degree of suspicion it might be Ebola," Mr Okware said. "We took some samples from him to Gulu, to the CDC [Centres for Disease Control] mobile lab, which confirmed he was antigen positive."

The soldier died last Friday in Mbarara University Hospital about five days after showing typical Ebola symptoms of high fever, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, Mr Okware said.

Despite many earlier false alarms, this is the first confirmed case outside the northern district of Gulu.

Earlier in the day, health officials had said they believed the disease had been brought under control, and said the death rate was falling in Gulu district, where 250 cases have been reported. But the death in the busy commercial town of Mbarara, 265 miles south of Gulu, and 25 miles north of the Tanzanian border, heightens concerns about the disease spreading further.

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