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Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 11:58 GMT
Uganda Ebola free
Ebola
More than 170 Ugandans died from the Ebola outbreak
By Anna Borzello in Kampala

Uganda's Health Ministry has declared the country free of Ebola, the deadly virus which can cause its victims to bleed to death from all their bodily orifices.


We are assured there is no more epidemic

Dr Sam Okware
The epidemic struck the northern Ugandan district of Gulu last September, claiming the lives of more than 170 of the 428 people who contracted the disease. Dr Sam Okware, head of the national task force on Ebola, said that two complete cycles of the incubation period had passed without a new infection being reported.

"There are no cases anywhere in the country, and we are assured there is no more epidemic," he told the BBC.

Ebola is a highly contagious form of viral haemorrhagic fever. After striking Gulu last September, the outbreak spread to the western Ugandan town of Mbarara and the northern district of Masindi.

Quick response

Among the victims were 16 health workers, including Dr Matthew Lukwiya, the medical superintendent at St Mary's hospital, who was at the forefront of efforts to contain the outbreak.


Experts attribute Uganda's success in containing the epidemic to the quick response by the government, international agencies and the local communities.

In a ceremony held in Gulu to mark the occasion, government officials pledged to build on the expertise the country has gained through tackling the epidemic.

This was Uganda's first ever Ebola outbreak. The virus emerged in Africa in the 1970's and has since re-occurred sporadically.

Its natural reservoir however remains unknown, which makes it difficult to predict when or if it will return.

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See also:

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Compensation for Ebola deaths
04 Dec 00 | Africa
Uganda's Ebola nursing toll
24 Nov 00 | Africa
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Africa's emerging virus threat
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