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

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win More

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.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs