Isolation wards for Ebola patients in western Uganda are now empty, a senior health official said Thursday, voicing hope that the killer fever was finally receding.
Sam Okware, who heads the national task force on the outbreak, said a patient admitted on December 22 was the only one in the Bundibugyo hospital's isolation wards.
"We have not recorded any deaths over the past four days and no new cases with the exception of one whose origins are not yet clear but we are trying to trace them," Okware told AFP.
He explained that the health authorities in the affected areas around Bundibugyo would wait until January 12 to determine whether or not the Ebola outbreak had been contained.
"Then we shall conclude that we have finally contained the epidemic. But we are still cautious as anything can flare up so we have remained in emergency mode," Okware explained.
A new strain of Ebola virus has killed 36 of the 135 people infected in Uganda, mainly in Bundibugyo where the disease first erupted in September.
Ebola fever was named after a small Democratic Republic of Congo river where it was discovered in 1976.
According to experts, despite being extremely virulent, the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones.
The health ministry recently issued a statement urging the public "to be compassionate and provide care and support to persons that have been discharged."
"These people are not infectious and therefore should not be discriminated against," said the statement, issued after several cases of discharged patients complaining of social stigmatisation.