(Medical Xpress) Uganda on Saturday extended a three-week lockdown on two districts at the centre of an Ebola outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives, curbing travel and closing public places.
Since the outbreak was declared in the central district of Mubende on Sept. 20, the disease has spread across the East African nation, including the capital Kampala.
Fifty-one deaths have been reported as of Saturday, according to Ugandan authorities.
The strain circulating in Uganda is known as the Sudan Ebola virus, for which there is currently no vaccine, although there are several candidate vaccines heading toward clinical trials.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said Uganda had registered over 150 confirmed and probable cases, including 64 fatalities.
President Yoweri Museveni imposed a 21-day lockdown on Mubende and neighbouring Kassanda on Oct. 15, but has said that nationwide curbs were not needed.
On Saturday, Health Minister Ruth Jane Aceng told AFP that “the lockdown of Mubende and Kassanda districts … will be extended for another 21 days.”
These include a dusk-to-dawn curfew, a ban on personal travel, and the closure of markets, bars, and churches.
“We urge the public to comply and remain vigilant,” Aceng added.
Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, with common symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding, and diarrhea.
Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban environments.
Museveni has ordered the police to arrest anyone infected with Ebola who refuses to isolate.
The WHO on Wednesday warned that there was a high risk of Ebola spreading further and called on neighbouring countries to boost their preparedness.
Uganda’s last recorded fatality from a previous Ebola outbreak was in 2019.
The worst Ebola epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 killed more than 11,300 people.