News / Health

    Uganda Ebola Outbreak Spotlights Poorly-Understood Killer

    Jessica Berman
    More than a dozen people are reported dead in western Uganda this week after being infected with the Ebola virus, a highly contagious and often fatal pathogen that has struck this region of Africa several times in the past 12 years.  International medical workers are on the scene trying to contain the outbreak.

    The latest outbreak in Uganda is being caused by the so-called Sudan strain of Ebola, one of five varieties of a virus that, officials say, typically kills between 50 and 90 percent of its victims.  

    Related video report by Vidushi Sinha
    The disease is spread through direct contact with the blood, saliva, sweat or other bodily fluids of sick individuals.  Handling the corpses of those who have died from the disease can also spread infection, which is why health officials are urging people not to bury Ebola victims, but to leave that task to trained medical personnel.

    Tarik Jasarevic is a spokesman for the World Health Organization or WHO.  Although the pathogen is extremely aggressive and easily transmitted, Jasarevic says it can be contained by testing people suspected of being infected with Ebola virus, placing the sick in quarantine and seeking out those with whom they may have had contact.  

    “It is because to stop the transmission chain, that we need to find those people and make sure that they are not infected in the near term and, if they are, they are treated in an appropriate way,” Jasarevic said.

    Related - Uganda, US CDC Cooperate on Ebola
     

    WHO and health care workers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are helping Ugandan officials determine the scope of the outbreak, tend to the sick and communicate with members of the public about how to protect themselves from infection.

    Ebola's average incubation period is between two and 12 days. Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, extreme weakness and muscle aches. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur and, in rare case of so-called Ebola hemorrhagic fever, patients suffer from internal and external bleeding.

    Ebola Infections and DeathsEbola Infections and Deaths
    x
    Ebola Infections and Deaths
    Ebola Infections and Deaths
    Currently, there is no cure for Ebola, nor are there any specific treatments. Patients who have been sickened but not killed by the virus usually need intensive rehydration therapy during their recovery.  But researchers are homing in on a vaccine. U.S. government scientists have developed an experimental vaccine that protects monkeys against the two most lethal Ebola strains.

    And scientists at Fort Dietrick, Maryland, have also reported progress on a possible cure that targets Ebola's genetic material and prevents the viral cells from reproducing.  After a week of injections, four rhesus monkeys infected with Ebola were cured of their infection.  The experimental treatment has yet to be tested and approved for use in humans.  

    First identified in 1976, the Ebola virus has appeared most often in tropical Africa.  While the precise source of Ebola is not known, Jasarevic says health experts suspect that wild bats transmit the virus to other forest animals such as monkeys and antelope, which are frequently killed for meat.

    “And hunters who go into [the] forest and kill the animal and eat the animal and get infected.  And… once the virus enters a human, then it is being transmitted human to human,” Jasarevic said.

    The worst Ebola outbreak in Uganda occurred in 2000, when the disease claimed the lives of 224 people.

    AHN What is Ebola?AHN What is Ebola?
    x
    AHN What is Ebola?
    AHN What is Ebola?

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Carolyne Muyama from: Kampala
    August 03, 2012 9:27 AM
    Government updates on Ebola
    http://www.mediacentre.go.ug/uploads/Ebola0001.pdf

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora