Ebola kills health workers in Uganda, causing panic
Published December 7, 2007
KAMPALA, Uganda - Health workers are among the dead in an Ebola outbreak in Uganda, spreading panic among doctors and nurses needed to help treat victims of the highly contagious disease, officials said.
Doctors and nurses did not at first know what they were facing, so failed to protect themselves, a lawmaker said. Experts say the Ebola subtype that sparked the outbreak is new and the classic Ebola symptoms were not always present, slowing diagnosis.
"We are facing a crisis in health care here," said Jane Alisemera, the lawmaker for Bundibugyo, a district 120 miles from Kampala where the outbreak has claimed at least 18 lives. Health workers "are scared and morale is low."
According to the Ministry of Health, Bundibugyo has 93 suspected cases of Ebola, among them 22 deaths. Four health workers were among the dead in an outbreak that began on Aug. 20, but the disease was not confirmed as Ebola until Nov. 29.
Local media reported that nursing staff in the isolation unit at Bundibugyo hospital were working without gloves and masks, and that the door of the ward was not locked.
Ebola typically kills most of those it strikes through massive blood loss, and there is no cure or treatment. It is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
[Last modified December 7, 2007, 02:34:25]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]