Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ebola Scare Again As Dead Monkeys Found in Bundibugyo

The discovery of eight dead monkeys in the Rwenzori National Park in Bundibugyo District has again caused more fears and tension among locals who are just coming to terms with the Ebola outbreak that ravaged the area and is said to have been brought to the area by infected monkeys.

District leaders and the health workers are suspecting that the monkeys may have been suffering from another virus but are all the same carrying out investigations.

In a meeting of medical experts with the district leaders held on Thursday at the district headquarters that was aimed at assessing and fighting the Ebola epidemic who epicenter has been here, it was noted that the monkeys and chimpanzees have certain blood viruses similar to those detected in human blood samples.

The investigations, however, will take congnisance of the fact that illegal hunting and killing of monkeys in the Mt Rwenzori ranges is going on uninterrupted.

It was resolved that the district authorities of Bundibugyo with immediate effect and alert the Uganda Wildlife Authority to intervene since a good number of families living in the mountains are feeding monkey meat and putting their lives at risk.

Meanwhile, on January 4 the Director General of Health Services, Dr Sam Zaramba issued a statement saying that the cumulative total of Ebola patients stands at 149 with 37 deaths.

"In Bundibugyo District, five people are currently admitted, one in Kikyo Health Centre and four in Bundibugyo Hospital. Of these, one new suspected case has been registered and is admitted in Bundibugyo Hospital in the last 24 hours. One patient was discharged from Kikyo Health Centre," the statement said.

The statement had positive news too saying that 441 out of 771 contacts have completed 21 days of follow-up and are considered safe.

Dr Zaramba, however, cautioned against "creating unnecessary panic."

Story here.

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