Up to three people have died in Uganda from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in its central region, near the capital Kampala, according to officials.

Health Minister Christine Ondoa said on Thursday that two of the dead were from one family in Luwero district.

Ondoa told reporters: "Another viral hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, has broken out in the country ... a total of three people have, since the onset of the outbreak ,died".

The news of the outbreak came as Ugandan and World Health Organization officials said they have isolated scores of people.

The official said that the “contact list” of possible Ebola patients had increased to 15 the day after it was confirmed that the disease was infecting people in Luweero, a district only 62km from Kampala.

Two of the Ebola cases are being treated at a Kampala hospital.

While appealing for calm, she said the government was working closely with experienced partners to stem the spread of Ebola.

Uganda is struggling with the latest bout of deadly hemorrhagic fevers to strike the east African nation in recent months.

The virus struck in July in the west of the country, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the disease first occurred in 1976. However, Uganda had declared itself free of Ebola a month ago.

On October 19, health officials also reported an outbreak of Marbug, a deadly viral disease known to be a cousin of Ebola, that killed three people.

The first case involved a motorcycle taxi driver who died on October 25. The second victim, a 25-year old woman who nursed the driver, died in November.

Ebola and Marbug are both highly infectious, spread mostly through contact with body fluids, and have high case fatalities.

Symptoms include bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting and while there is no cure for both diseases, some patients survive through treatment of symptoms.

Source: Agencies