Health officials in Uganda say a prisoner with a suspected case of Ebola escaped from Kagadi hospital overnight Friday, sparking concern the man could spread the highly contagious, often fatal virus. Dr. Jackson Amune, an official at the Ministry of Health, said the man’s test results are still pending, so it is not yet a confirmed case. The man was one of 5 inmates from Kibaale prison being treated for Ebola-like symptoms at the hospital.
"Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry. So right now, we have resolved that the remaining prisoners will be cuffed on the beds for fear that they might also escape," said Dr. Amune.
The Ebola outbreak started last month in the western district of Kibaale. Fifty-three cases have been confirmed and the death toll currently stands at 16. At least 312 people have been isolated with unconfirmed cases. The World Health Organization representative in Uganda says the outbreak is “under control.”
Kagadi hospital is currently treating 2 people with confirmed cases and at least 29 people with unconfirmed cases. "We do expect the number of suspected cases to increase. It's important to break transmission and reduce the number of contacts that suspected cases have,” said Dr. Dan Kyamanywa.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood and other body fluids of an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus is "characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.”
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