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Ebola in Uganda

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).  The virus has appeared sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976.


The disease is caused by infection with Ebola virus, named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it was first recognized.


Most recently and as of July 30, 2012, there have been 28 probable cases (with three confirmed) of Sudan Ebola virus in Kibaale, Uganda.  Fourteen of those individuals have died.


The outbreak is believed to have started in late June.  The cases were not initially recognized as Ebola because patients did not exhibit some typical symptoms of the disease such as hemorrhaging.  On July 28, the Uganda Virus Research Institute/CDC confirmed the presence of Sudan Ebola virus.


Because testing was able to be done in-country at the new UVRI/CDC lab, valuable time was saved compared to previous instances when samples had to be shipped outside of Uganda for testing.


The United States Mission in Kampala’s Interagency Health Team, in collaboration with the Ugandan Health Ministry and the World Health Organization, has sent a team to the Kibaale district.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending an additional team of 4 to assist with the outbreak.  


More information about Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be found in this fact sheet and historic distribution map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  


The World Health Organization also has a web section dedicated to Ebola as well as an informative fact sheet.  WHO also has information about multiple forms of viral hemorrhagic fevers.


The latest news about the current status in Uganda:


GROUP SAYS FIRST VICTIM IN UGANDA EBOLA OUTBREAK WAS INFANT GIRL. The AP (8/3) reports, "The aid group Doctors Without Borders says the first victim of the latest Ebola outbreak in Uganda was a 3-month-old girl and that of the 65 people who attended her funeral, 15 later contracted the deadly disease."

The New York Daily News (8/3, 601K) reports, "The infant appears to be the first known case of the outbreak. Both she and her mother fell ill around July 12, according to Dr. Olimpia de la Rosa, who has been coordinating the aid group's response in Uganda."

Reuters (8/3, Biryabarema) reports that Uganda residents are taking preventive measures against the virus, with many refraining from going out to public places.

In the ABC News (8/3, Besser) "Medical Unit" blog, Richard Besser writes, "I'm embedded with the CDC team that is helping...take on this outbreak. They are on the ground going village to village searching for contacts, analyzing data looking for connections between patients and working in the lab testing samples." Currently, "it's too soon to say whether the outbreak is rising, falling, or leveling off."

Five Ugandan Prisoners Suspected To Have Ebola. On its website, CNN (8/3, McKenzie) reports, "The hospital at the center of an Ebola outbreak in Uganda is now dealing with 30 suspected cases, including five from Kibaale prison, Dr. Dan Kyamanywa said Thursday." So far, "three patients at Kagadi hospital have been confirmed as having the virus, said Kyamanywa, a district health officer." CNN adds, "The five prisoners have been showing Ebola-like symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and fever, the doctor said."

EBOLA-RELATED DEATH TOLL IN UGANDA RISES TO 16.The AP (8/2) reports, "The death toll from an Ebola outbreak has risen to 16 after two more people died, Uganda's Ministry of Health said on Wednesday." In addition, at "least 20 more are thought to be infected in Uganda's western Kibaale district, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement on Tuesday." The scourge already "has a deadly reputation around the world, but even more so in Uganda, where there have been multiple outbreaks over the years."

The disease's most recent victim was "a 14-year-old boy whose nine relatives also have died in the outbreak in the district's Nyanswiga village, where the first case is thought to have been,"  
The precautions are not without warrant, according to the  

MORE PATIENTS THOUGHT TO HAVE EBOLA IN UGANDA. The New York Times/AP (7/31, A10, Subscription Publication) reports, "Six more patients thought to have the highly infectious Ebola virus have been hospitalized days after investigators confirmed an outbreak of the disease in western Uganda, a health official said Monday. The official, Stephen Byaruhanga, health secretary of the affected Kibaale district, said possible cases of Ebola, at first concentrated in a single village, were now being reported in more villages." The AP adds that "if the six new cases are confirmed as Ebola, they would bring to 26 the number of Ugandans infected this month; 14 have died so far."

The AP (7/30, Muhumuza) reports, "Ebola patients were being treated at the only major hospital in Kibaale, said Stephen Byaruhanga, the district's health secretary." So far, the "virus has killed 14 people."

Reuters (7/28, Biryabarema) reports, Joaquim Saweka, WHO's representative in Uganda, said, "A team of experts from the government, WHO and CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) are in the field and following up on all suspected cases and those who got into contact with patients."