Published Date: 2007-12-15 11:00:16
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Ebola hemorrhagic fever - Uganda (11): (Bundibugyo)
Archive Number: 20071215.4031
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER - UGANDA (11): (BUNDIBUGYO)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 13 Dec 2007
Source: AllAfrica, The Weekly Observer (Kampala) report [edited]
Four months since the deadly Ebola fever broke out in western Uganda,
there is still no clear explanation of where the original victim
contracted the virus. But the government now believes the outbreak
may have come as a result of people eating monkey meat...
Initial reports said that the 1st victims had eaten a dead goat
suspected to have been bitten by a monkey... [but] the minister of
State for Health, Emmanuel Otaala, said early this week that
investigators had failed to find any trace of the goat suspected to
have been bitten by the monkey. "So we think the victims actually ate
By press time, the Ebola death toll stood at 29 out of 113 cases.
Minister Otaala said volunteers had contacted at least 200 people who
had come into contact with confirmed Ebola cases. Such people are
being advised to stay in their homes for 3 weeks, after which they can
The 2nd coming of Ebola has thrown much of the country into a state
of panic. The 1st case of the current outbreak has been traced back
to 20 Aug 2007, while confirmation of Ebola only came 3 months later.
This has given the impression that in that period the disease could
have spread far and wide, making many more people vulnerable...
The guide book the public is reading on how to avoid Ebola reads like
this: Avoid handshakes -- just wave. Avoid contact with (even
suspected) Ebola patients. Avoid burials where the deceased's clan
and friends cry and dine. And from junior Health Minister Emmanuel
Otaala: Avoid washing bodies before burial.
Some people even suspect you can get Ebola by visiting a public toilet
used by someone carrying the Ebola virus. According to Dr Chris
Baryomunsi, a medical doctor and MP for Kinkiizi East in Kanungu
district, there is a risk in each of the above practices, even if
sometimes it is remote.
[The guide book is wrong, and the final comment above is ridiculous.
The only risk, apart from butchering (not from eating) monkeys or apes
dead from Ebola infection, is contact with body fluids of a patient in
the acute phase of the disease, or those of a deceased patient, as in
washing bodies before burial.
[The belief that the outbreak was initiated through preparation and
consumption of monkey meat is based on no more than circumstantial
evidence. Curiously this report gives the number of cases as 113 and
the number of deaths as 29, compared with the 116 cases and 30 deaths
reported 2 days earlier on 11 Dec 2007. Hopefully this is not a
computational error but can be taken as indication that the outbreak
has peaked and the spread of infection has been contained. - Mod.CP]