(CNN) -- The lethal Ebola virus has left at least 14 people dead in western Uganda this month, according to Health Ministry officials, after local reports of a "strange disease" swept through the region.
A total of 20 cases of the virus have been recorded, officials said Saturday.
The cases have emerged in Kibaale, a district in midwestern Uganda, where a national task force had been mobilized in an effort to combat the outbreak.
Officials from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are also supporting that effort, ministry officials say.
The Ebola virus is considered a highly infectious disease spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, with symptoms that include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, headache, measles-like rash, red eyes and at times bleeding from body openings.
Health officials urged the public to report suspected cases and avoid contact with anyone who has contracted the virus and to disinfect the bedding and clothing of an infected person by using protective gloves and masks.
Officials also advised against eating dead animals, especially monkeys, and to avoid public gatherings in the affected district.
CNN's Miriam Falco contributed to this report.