A new Ebola outbreak in central Uganda has killed 17 people in three weeks, the health ministry in Kampala said on Monday.
On 5 October, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 29 deaths in the country from Ebola since the start of the epidemic.
This figure includes deaths among people confirmed to have the virus, as well as suspected cases.
The Ugandan government is counting only deaths among confirmed patients, which is 48 people as of 9 October, according to the ministry.
Ebola is often fatal, but vaccines and treatments are now available for haemorrhagic fever, which is transmitted to humans by infected animals.
The previous death toll from the Ugandan authorities, published on 5 October, was 10.
The first cases were reported in Mubende district, in the centre of the country, before the epidemic, confirmed by the authorities on 20 September, spread to the neighboring districts of Kassanda, Kyegegwa and Kagadi.
According to the WHO, the first identified death in the outbreak (and the first person to die from the disease in Uganda since 2019) was from a “relatively rare” strain of Ebola virus, known as Sudanese, which had not been reported in the Great Lakes country since 2012.
President Yoweri Museveni ruled out containment at the end of September, saying the country had the capacity to contain the epidemic.
Uganda has had previous outbreaks of Ebola, a disease that has killed thousands across Africa since its discovery in 1976 in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Human transmission is through bodily fluids, and the main symptoms are fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea. Infected people do not become contagious until after the onset of symptoms, with an incubation period of 2 to 21 days.
The disease has six different strains, three of which (Bundibugyo, Sudan, Zaire) have already caused major epidemics.