Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Fresh outbreak of Ebola terrifies Ugandan community

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The deadly Ebola virus has raised its head once again in Uganda, with three new deaths linked to the horrifying illness. Several Ugandans were isolated to prevent the spread of a new outbreak. This African nation has experienced growing, regular outbreaks of deadly hemorrhagic fevers that have left local health officials grappling for answers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The new Ebola outbreak was confirmed Wednesday in a district 40 miles from the Ugandan capital of Kampala. The recent outbreak comes roughly a month after the last reported one in western Uganda. The nation had declared itself Ebola-free after at least five people in the southwestern district of Uganda were killed by Marburg, which is a hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.

The latest Ebola outbreak is of the Sudan strain of Ebola. It's not linked to the previous one, of the Congo variety, which killed at least 16 villagers in July and August in the western district of Kibaale.

Up to 15 people are being monitored for signs of the disease, officials say. They are advising the general population against panic after it was revealed that two possible Ebola patients had since checked into Kampala's main referral hospital.

"The Ministry of Health once again calls upon the public to stay calm as all possible measures are being undertaken to control the situation," Christine Ondoa, Uganda's minister of health says.

Ebola is a terrifying phenomenon in Africa, but is especially feared in Uganda. Multiple outbreaks have occurred over the years. News of it can cause patients to flee hospitals to avoid infection.

In one of the world's worst Ebola outbreaks, the disease infected 425 Ugandans and killed more than half of them in the country's north in 2000. Another outbreak in 2007 killed 37 people in Bundibugyo, a remote district close to the Congolese border.

Ebola is highly infectious -- and kills quickly. A World Health Organization official in Kampala says there are progressively more cases of Ebola in Uganda due to an increase in "the interaction between man and the forests."

Investigators believe the first victim of Ebola in any outbreak acquires the disease after coming into contact with a "reservoir," an infected animal that is often a monkey.

"Whenever there is contact between man and the reservoir of Ebola then you get the first case," Miriam Nanyunja of the World Health Organization says.

Ebola has bedeviled Africa since it was first reported in 1976 in Congo. Ebola is named for the river where it was recognized, and there is no cure or vaccine for it.

Ebola is "characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. According to a factsheet by the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients."

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)