Racing a Virus

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Uganda ordered the shuttering of all schools two weeks before the end of term as the country races to contain the latest Ebola outbreak, Al Jazeera reported.

Officials said the government will close preschools, primary and secondary schools on Nov. 25, saying that the densely packed classrooms make the students more vulnerable to infection.

The decision came after eight children died from the virus, while 23 others were confirmed as being infected.

At the same time, the government extended a three-week lockdown on two districts – Mubende and Kassanda in central Uganda – over the weekend. The measures include a dusk-to-dawn curfew, a ban on travel, and the closure of markets, bars and churches.

The two districts have been the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, which the Ugandan government declared in September. The disease has spread across the country, including the capital, Kampala.

According to the World Health Organization, the country has registered at least 150 confirmed and probable cases, including 64 deaths.

Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids, and symptoms include fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea. Ebola typically kills almost half of those infected.

Outbreaks are difficult to contain, particularly in urban areas.

The recent outbreak has caused concern among health officials because the current Sudan strain of the virus does not have any proven vaccine. Even so, President Yoweri Museveni said that nationwide restrictions are not needed.

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