Ebola returns to Uganda

FRESH EBOLA OUTBREAK HITS UGANDA

Tourism stakeholders, just returned from a successful WTM 2012 attendance in London, are facing up to stark news that Ebola has yet again reappeared and already claimed two victims in the Luwero District of Uganda. Six weeks after the last outbreak was confirmed to have been brought under control and the WHO in conjunction with the Ministry of Health in Kampala declared the country ebola free, has the disease reappeared, while at the same time the country is still dealing with the outbreak of the equally deadly Marburg fever. Reports a few weeks ago of

Yellow Fever claiming at least one victim have only added to the woes, unsettling potential visitors and having tourism stakeholders struggle to overcome these added negative perceptions abroad about the country.

I got the news from a web link to the Monitor yesterday afternoon and have already had several emails from clients. They are concerned about what is going on because Luwero is on the way to one of our important parks. Two travel agents called me and also asked if Marburg has been controlled now. After WTM I thought I can concentrate on promoting Uganda and now I am fighting again to explain things which we read in papers but even government has not yet made official statements. Ahead of the busy end of year season, this is not good’ commented a regular source late last evening. The Luwero District Health Officer was quoted in local media as confirming that the Ebola strain was of the Sudanese type and also conceding that besides the two confirmed cases two more death cases are being looked into after initial tests on Marburg came back negative, prompting further checks if those too could be Ebola related.

A source from the Ministry of Tourism, on condition of anonymity for not being an official spokesperson, said that tourists were, like in past outbreaks, most unlikely to come in contact with or drive by the close vicinity of an outbreak and should therefore not be worried about health issues when visiting the country. ‘Normally it is quite enough to take precautions against malaria and have a yellow fever inoculation but other than that nothing else is required or recommended. At those two are also the case when visiting other East African countries, so there is no cause for alarm’.

Watch this space for further updates as and when available.

3 Comments

  1. I understand from news on Facebook that the border with DRC is closed. I suppose this is why?

    1. The border with Congo DR was closed in response to constant allegations that Uganda was supporting rebel groups in Eastern Congo and facilitating movement of supplies for them. The border will remain closed until these allegations have been formally withdrawn and the draft UN report been amended accordingly.
      Diseases however are often brought from neighbouring countries when fighting displaces large numbers of people but please remember that many are NOT crossing at official border posts but streaming across the open frontiers across forests and wilderness areas.
      Thank you for reading my blog.
      W.

  2. Reblogged this on bintisafaris and commented:
    I hope, an official statement can be issued assuring ‘tourists were, like in past outbreaks, most unlikely to come in contact with or drive by the close vicinity of an outbreak and should therefore not be worried about health issues when visiting the country.’

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