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 Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora