Uganda declares end of Ebola outbreak

Researchers work at U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention on August 2, 2012, after Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

Story highlights

  • 17 people died in Uganda's Ebola outbreak
  • The last patient was released on August 24
  • The initial announcement of the outbreak caused panic and sent patients fleeing
  • At least 10 more died in a separate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Ugandan health officials are declaring the country free of an Ebola outbreak blamed for 17 deaths since late July.
The last patient with a confirmed infection was released on August 24, the World Health Organization said in a statement.
"WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Uganda with respect to this event," it said.
The outbreak's initial confirmation at a hospital in the western town of Kagadi sent patients fleeing and the facility scrambling to contact those who may have had the disease.
In a separate incident, a convict brought to the hospital on suspicion of an infection escaped.
Less than a third of the outbreak's "24 probable and confirmed cases" survived, according to the WHO. More than 350 people were isolated for testing on suspicion of having the disease.
Ebola is caused by a highly infectious virus that spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, a measles-like rash, red eyes and, at times, bleeding from body openings.
Initial symptoms of Ebola can be mistaken for other illnesses such as the flu.
The Ebola virus was first detected in 1976 in the central African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Uganda's neighbor to the west. The virus is named after a river in that country, where the first outbreak of the disease was found.
At least 10 people died in a separate Ebola outbreak in late August in the Democratic Republic of Congo.