On Nov. 29, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed a case of Ebola in the western region of the country. After a rapid assessment on Dec. 1, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) set up patient isolation units in the Kikyo health centre and the Bundibugyo hospital. Currently, two outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever have been identified in Kikyo and Bundibugyo. The extent of the epidemic is not yet known. As of Dec. 6, 93 cases have been recorded at the Bundibugyo hospital and the Kikyo health centre. Among them, 22 people have died, including four health care workers. The virus was confirmed in nine cases through laboratory tests. No treatment is yet available for this highly contagious illness. The viral strains known today cause death in 50 to 90 per cent of cases. Suspected cases must be isolated and health care workers must implement strict isolation care procedures. On Dec. 1, an MSF team composed of 12 specialists in hemorrhagic fever set up two isolation units in the area. On Dec. 5, 25 patients were treated in the Bundibugyo hospital unit. From Dec. 1 to 5, nine new patients were admitted; the number of hospitalized cases is increasing. Fifteen patients were hospitalized in the Kikyo isolation unit during the same period. MSF is organizing community awareness and information campaigns in the affected areas to reduce contamination risks, particularly during funerals of patients. Additional medical and non-medical staff will arrive to support the MSF team in the next few days. The team will then be able to expand its activities to people who have had contact with patients and to monitor suspected cases in neighbouring towns. MSF is working closely with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. MSF also took part in treating the Ebola epidemic in Gulu, Uganda in 2000.

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