UGANDA: Ebola outbreak kills 16

KAMPALA, 30 November 2007 (IRIN) - An outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the western Uganda district of Bundibugyo has
killed 16 of 51 people infected over the past three weeks, a senior health official said. "We have been on the ground and we are deploying more people to manage the situation," Sam Zaramba, director of health services at the ministry of health, told IRIN on 30 November. "This morning, more experts were sent to the region to further study the situation," he added. Blood samples analysed for the highly contagious Ebola virus at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, United States, had tested positive, Zaramba said. He said the first case was reported on November 10 in Bundibugyo district, which borders on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On 19 November, health officials in DRC announced the end of an Ebola outbreak that had killed six people out of 17 known to have been infected. Ebola is characterised by fever, diarrhoea, severe blood loss and intense fatigue. It is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected persons or of other primates. There is no cure, and health experts say between 50 and 90 percent of victims die. The best way of halting its spread is through prevention, prompt detection and the isolation of suspected cases. "It is as dangerous a disease as any other haemorrhagic fever, but the WHO (World Health Organization) and officials from CDC are working closely with us so that we remain in control of the situation," said Zaramba. He said a new team of experts was heading to Bundibugyo to help bolster efforts to contain the spread of the disease. Ebola struck the northern Ugandan district of Gulu in September, 2000, claiming the lives of more than 173 of the 428 people infected. Theme(s): (IRIN) Early Warning, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition

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