News / Africa

Uganda, US CDC Cooperate on Ebola

A police officer helps a worker to put on his gloves to protect himself from virus infection, July 31, 2012 at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala.
A police officer helps a worker to put on his gloves to protect himself from virus infection, July 31, 2012 at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala.
Andrew Green
ENTEBBE — Two more deaths were confirmed Wednesday in Uganda’s ongoing Ebola outbreak, raising the total to 16. Officials are fighting to prevent further transmission of the virus. Through a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the country is uniquely positioned to respond quickly to suspected cases of Ebola and other hemorrhagic viruses.

Representatives from the World Health Organization say 36 possible Ebola cases have been reported in Uganda, mostly in the west of the country. At least one death occurred in Kampala, raising concerns that the virus had reached the capital. However, there is no evidence of any transmission within the city.

Virus hunters

Ebola is no stranger to Uganda. Last year a 12-year-old girl living an hour outside of Kampala died from the virus. Thirty-nine people died in a 2007 outbreak in an area bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But unlike other countries in the region that have seen similar outbreaks, Uganda has a team of virus hunters from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on hand to respond quickly to hemorrhagic fevers, like Ebola.

The CDC has been working with Uganda’s Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for more than a decade. Dr. Trevor Shoemaker, a CDC epidemiologist, says they formalized the relationship two years ago by developing a fully functioning laboratory on the institute’s campus to rapidly diagnose possible cases of Ebola and other hemorrhagic viruses.

"In previous outbreaks there’s been a long period of time between the first initial suspect case presenting to the hospital and then the initial diagnosis of it either being a hemorrhagic fever. So this laboratory was set up to narrow that amount of time, to close that gap," he explains.

Related  - Uganda’s Latest Ebola Virus Outbreak Spotlights Poorly-Understood Killer

CDC involvement

Shoemaker says the CDC chose to work in Uganda because of the region’s history of hemorrhagic virus outbreaks. While there are different risks at different times of the year, Uganda and much of the region have many of the necessary factors, including the animal population, necessary for an outbreak.

There are two full-time CDC staff members on site to monitor samples that arrive from around the country. Shoemaker says several other people at the neighboring Institute are also trained to assist in the event like the current outbreak.

The CDC and Uganda’s Ministry of Health have also set up six surveillance sites around the country. One is within 150 kilometers of the suspected origin of the current outbreak in Kibaale District in western Uganda. Local teams have been trained to identify potential cases, collect samples and immediately alert the lab.

In this case, ministry officials told the Cable News Network diagnosis of the virus was delayed because some patients did not seek treatment immediately or did not show traditional signs of Ebola. But Shoemaker says once a suspected case is reported, the lab is able to quickly do an initial confirmation and alert a response team to start containing the spread.

Quick response

During last year’s case, the lab was able to assemble an international response within days.

"The next day after our initial preliminary diagnostics here that told us it could be Ebola, we were out in the field the next day. And while we’re out there the confirmation testing is going on here. It’s a good example of how once we get that initial positive result, we can mobilize a team," said Shoemaker.

In the current outbreak, officials are still in the process of tracking all the people who might have come in contact with infected patients. In the meantime, the government has called on people to avoid physical contact and large crowds until the outbreak is over.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid