Uganda confirmed 101 suspected cases of Ebola fever and hundreds more people being closely monitored, officials said on Friday, with growing fears the lethal virus may spread to neighboring countries.

Ugandan state Minister for Primary Healthcare, Dr Emmanuel Otaala said 22 people have died from the fever and 11 health care workers have contracted the virus. Cumulatively, we have 101 cases, he told Reuters.

A total of 338 people are being taken care of as they have come into contact with infected patients. Otaala said eight sporadic alert cases have been registered in the districts of Adjumani in West Nile, Mbale in the east, Masaka and Mubende in Buganda region and Kasese, Fort Portal (Kabarole) and Kanungu in western Uganda; implying the whole country is now under Ebola siege

The last Ebola outbreak in Uganda was in 2000, when 425 people caught it and more than half died.

The first Ebola case was reported on November 10 in the Bundibugyo district on the border with DR Congo. No cure has yet been found for Ebola, which originated in the rainforests of the Congo basin.

The Ebola haemorrhagic fever which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons or animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and antelopes. The disease has an incubation period of two to 21 days.