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Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2000
Contact: Media Relations (404) 639-3286

Media Advisory: Ebola Outbreak in Uganda

On October 17, 2000, as part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) response to an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever, CDC sent a team of 6 disease investigators to Uganda.

Laboratory tests conducted at the National Institute of Virology in South Africa indicate that the Ebola virus is the cause of the outbreak. Ebola is a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys and chimpanzees).

The CDC team of medical epidemiologists and virologists will assist the Ugandan Ministry of Health first in controlling the outbreak in Gulu. The team will work to break the chain of disease transmission by instituting improved patient isolation and care procedures. The team will also:

  • Advise on steps to protect the health and safety of emergency response teams, health care workers and others.
  • Set up a state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratory to help determine quickly and safely who is or is not infected with the virus.
  • Support efforts to protect the population and treat patients based on WHO/CDC guidelines.
  • Investigate how the outbreak began and how the disease spreads from person to person.

No case of the disease in humans has ever been reported in the United States. At this time, CDC has not issued an advisory recommending that people avoid travel to the outbreak area in Uganda. These are the first cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever ever reported in Uganda. The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 in Sudan and in a nearby region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire). Outbreaks of Ebola have also occurred in the Ivory Coast and Gabon.

Infectious diseases can cause suffering and death to any persons, regardless of age, gender, lifestyle, ethnic background, and socioeconomic status; moreover, they impose an enormous financial burden on society. The CDC released a plan, Preventing Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Strategy for the 21st Century, which describes steps to address today's emerging infectious diseases and prevent those of tomorrow.

For updates on the outbreak visit:

WHO's Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response:

For additional information visit:

CDC's Traveler's Health, National Center for Infectious Disease:

CDC's Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Special Pathogens Branch:

CDC Fact Sheet on Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever:

CDC's Preventing Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Strategy for the 21st Century:


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