Uganda announces lockdown as Ebola cases rise
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PALMYRIS, Uganda, May 20 (Reuters) – Uganda’s health ministry said on Friday a 23-year-old British aid worker had been sent to the epicentre of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the northeast but an official at a nearby hospital said he had no symptoms.
Two other foreign aid workers in the city were being treated for the virus, which usually spreads only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick people.
A Ugandan official said the death toll had risen to 25 after the city’s hospital had admitted another eight suspected cases of the hemorrhagic fever. Uganda’s health minister said all the deaths were in that city. He said in a news release that three people who have died have been buried in the town of Tororo.
One of the aid workers, a British woman named Dawna Tamaki, was in Gulu for two weeks, but her whereabouts were unknown as she was not in contact with anyone suspected.
Uganda has stepped up the fight against the deadly virus, which can spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of infected patients through contact with unsterilized needles and a broken needle can allow the virus to enter the bloodstream.
The outbreak, the first to strike West Africa, has caused more than 10,000 infections and killed more than 5,600 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Nigeria.
President Yoweri Museveni has said the country will soon shut all schools, and the health ministry said schoolchildren would remain at home over the weekend. Museveni has also declared “extraordinary times” to help contain the outbreak.
Earlier on Friday, the World Health Organization said Ebola cases had sharply increased in western Sudan.
The United Nations agency said the number of confirmed and probable cases of the virus had more than doubled in western Sudan in the past two months. It said the jump in the number of cases from 6