Alleged Ebola outbreak rattles northern Ugandan district

Gulu- Uganda, (PANA) -- Following reports that an outbreak of the haemorrhagic Ebola fever had in the last 8 days claimed 45 southern Sudan, local authorities in northern Uganda have issued a travel alert in the border district of Kitgum.
Credible reports obtained by PANA say the deaths occurred in the southern Sudanese small town of Ikoto, about 45 km north Uganda's border with Sudan.
The borderline with Sudan is 81 km from the northern Ugandan town of Gulu, where the last Ebola outbreak killed some 200 people.
Kitgum district council chairman Nehman Ojwee confirmed that the authorities in Kampala had been alerted and were taking measures to prevent the disease from spreading through trade routes between Kitgum and the Sudanese Emotong Mountains, whose ranges phase into Uganda's Agoro hills.
"We have issued a travel warning as the immediate measure to avoid the virus being imported into Uganda," Ojwee told PANA Friday.
Ojwee denied earlier reports that the border had been sealed off, saying "no one is being prevented from crossing until the assessment team sent yesterday (Thursday) carries out a full investigation.
" The new outbreak was reported at the foot of Mount Emotong whose ranges are used by Ugandan rebels of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) as hideouts and bases to launch attacks into Uganda.
The likely economic impact of the Ebola scare could be disastrous, as locals depend on cross-border trade, Ojwee hinted.
"The people of Kitgum depend on cattle and they also trade a lot of liquor, millet, used clothes, paraffin, oil and other commodities," he said, adding "with the likely suspension of trade at Akilok, Lokuming and Agoro the revenue to these people will be severely affected.

09 may 2003 13:10:00

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