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Uganda’s capital reports first Ebola death

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Health workers use gloves and protective clothing when treating Ebola patients (Credit: WHO)

A man who fled from health workers after being exposed to Ebola in central Uganda has died after going to a hospital in Kampala, local officials say, making it the first case and death in the capital city.

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The man from Mubende, the epicenter of the outbreak, had previously been identified for possible exposure to Ebola but decided to run away while using a fake name. He then sought help from a traditional healer in another region.

The man eventually went to Kiruddu National Referral Hospital in the capital city, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said at a press conference. At this point he was already seriously ill and doctors were aware of his potential exposure to Ebola.

The man died at the hospital on Friday and was taken to Mubende for burial, where health authorities determined his real identity. Forty-two people who may have been in contact with the man are being traced, though it’s unclear if it includes anyone in Kampala.

“Are we worried that another case may appear in Kampala? Yes,” the minister said.

Uganda declared an Ebola outbreak on September 20 after a 24-year-old man from Mubende District tested positive for Sudan ebolavirus, which is one of six species of the ebolavirus genus. The strain had not been found in humans since 2012.

At least 74 cases and 39 deaths have been reported so far, although Ugandan officials have not been providing regular updates in recent days. President Yoweri Museveni is scheduled to address the nation on Ebola at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

Current evidence suggests that the ERVEBO vaccine, which is used to control outbreaks with the Zaire variant, is not effective against the Sudan strain. Six vaccine candidates are in different stages of development.

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