Ebola Outbreak Hits Uganda
The Ugandan President has confirmed there is a outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, starting to sweep through the African nation. He urged people to avoid physical contact after fourteen people have died since the outbreak began in the western region of the country, some three weeks ago. The latest victim died at the main hospital in the capital Kampala. So far there is no indication of the disease spreading in Kampala however the health professionals that treated the latest victim have been placed in a special quarantine area within the hospital.
Ebola is one of the most virulent viruses in the world, with no known vaccine and usually claims the lives of the vast majority of all people who become infected. Over the last twelve years Uganda has seen three major Ebola outbreaks, the most fatal being in 2000 which infected 425 people and killed over 200 of them.
The President said that people should avoid shaking hands, kissing or having sex to prevent the disease from spreading. He also urged family members of those who suspected to have died from Ebola, not to bury them, instead for relatives to call special health workers, “because they know how to do it”.
President Museveni ended his address to the nation with the words, “I wish you good luck and may god rest the souls of those who died in eternal peace.” However many people in Uganda do not own a television or a radio and there is a great fear that large swathes of the population may not even know there is an outbreak of the disease. People are being warned to be on the look out for a sudden onset of the following symptoms, fever, weakness, headache, vomiting and kidney problems and pain.
Ebola was first identified back in 1976 and on average kills up to 90% of those that become infected with it. For many it is a rapid but painful death as it can lead from headache and nausea to internal bleeding and organ failure before death.
There had been some hope late last year when scientists had developed a vaccine that had shown to protect 80% of mice injected with a deadly strain of the virus. The next step of the research is to try the vaccine on a strain of Ebola that is closer or similar to the one that effects humans, the researchers said in December 2011. A vaccine for the human strain is still looks to be years away from becoming a reality.