We learned two things over the weekend, the first being that in the Kibaale District of Uganda, some people will steal your cell phone even if you're dying of Ebola. The second? That you shouldn't steal cell phones from Ebola patients. That is, unless you would like to be infected with the deadly disease yourself.
According to the Uganda Daily Monitor's Francis Mugerwa, "The suspect allegedly broke into the isolation ward on the night of Tuesday August 14, undetected by hospital guards. The patient, who has since succumbed to the deadly hemorrhagic fever, then reported the theft to the hospital security that then embarked on tracing the alleged thief." As you may know (from Outbreak?), Ebola is pretty scary and its victims tend to die horrific deaths. Last month Uganda saw an Ebola outbreak that killed 16 people, and The BBC reported on August 22 that the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen 10 people die from the disease. Reports don't say if the suspect (medical officials have not released his name) caught the virus from the phone, or from, say, visiting an isolation ward full of Ebola patients. Further, The Global Post reports that Ugandan President Yoweri Meseveni has issued a warning against physical contact with patients and do-it-yourself burials--the most common ways Ebola is spread. And thanks to Anderson Cooper we all know how disgusting our cell phones are. Either way, detectives looking for the stolen phone didn't have to look far as the suspect checked himself into the hospital soon after. "The suspect is admitted at Kagadi Hospital with clinical signs of Ebola," Kibaale District Health Officer, Dr Dan Kyamanywa, told the Monitor.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.