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Ugandan Health Minister Crispus Kiyonga
"We don't know where this came from"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Aid workers evacuate Ebola region
Lacor hospital, Gulu, Uganda
Doctors examine a child suspected of carrying the virus
International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are pulling aid workers out of northern Uganda in fear of an Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 43 people.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has evacuated its international staff from Gulu to the capital Kampala, 225 miles away, and instructed its local staff to stay at home or leave the affected area.

northern Uganda
The disease appears to be spreading in northern Uganda
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Save the Children have also evacuated workers, and local press reports say that the Catholic Relief Service, International Organisation for Migration and Action Contre la Faim have done the same.

"We have to take measures to protect our staff," said Oddhild Gunther, head of the NRC's International Department.

The ICRC said it did not expect its four workers to return to northern Uganda before the beginning of November.

(Click here to see a map of previous Ebola outbreaks)

Outbreak spreading

The NGOs are pulling out as the disease appears to be spreading.

While the outbreak appeared to be confined to the town of Gulu at first, there have now been cases reported in neighbouring Kitgum district and in a suburb of Gulu.
Reinforcements on the way
Infectious diseases control expert
Diarrhoea nursing expert
CDC-run diagnostic laboratory
300 kilogrammes of supplies, including gumboots, goggles, disposable gloves, and disinfectants

Cases have also been reported in the Atiak and Amoru refugee camps.

"It will be very difficult if it has spread there, Ms Gunther said.

"They are piled together," she said of the people in the camps. "It will be a devastating experience."

International aid

Experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been sent to Uganda to help fight the outbreak.

Germany, Ireland, Italy and Japan have pledged funds to pay for the rapid-response team.

But although the WHO has also sent medicine and protective clothing, hospitals in the region are overwhelmed.

Gulu district is one of the poorest areas of Uganda.

Uganda's Ministry of Health has established a national task force to fight the outbreak.

Officials have said they can contain the outbreak and have asked people not to panic.

They have also established a public education programme to teach people how to avoid spreading the disease.

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | Africa
Experts' mission to curb Ebola
31 Jul 00 | Health
Breakthrough on Ebola
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Ebola cure possible
17 Oct 00 | Latest News
Ebola death toll rises
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Ebola and other tropical viruses
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Kenya on Ebola alert
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