Ebola Virus Outbreak in Uganda July 2012 is a Cause for Concern

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Ebola spreads through close contact. Image courtesy of “Charting the Path of the Deadly Ebola Virus in Central Africa.” Published in PLoS Biol 3/11/2005: e403

Ebola HF transmission may occur in African clinics, or hospitals, where patients are treated without adequate protection. When needles or syringes are used, they may not be sterilized and are often reused due to shortages, so, infection can spread rapidly.

What Are The Symptoms of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever?

The incubation period for Ebola HF ranges from 2 to 21 days. The onset of illness is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness. These symptoms are followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients. Some people recover from Ebola HF – patients who die have not developed an adequate immune response to the virus.

Uganda Today

Although other nations continue to provide aid to Uganda, the Irish government ended their annual humanitarioan aid programe in 2010, due primarily to the fact that the aid was not reaching the people in most need. A European health worker, (who wishes to remain anonymous), worked near the capital Kampala during July 2012, and described widespread corruption in a private interview with Decoded Science. When it comes to serving the people of Uganda, workers report challenging circumstances, including men with multiple wives and no fatherhood responsibility, and high rates of HIV.

Could The Uganda Ebola Virus Spread Worldwide?

The international airport in Kigali, Rwanda, which provides international air access for East Africa, could, in theory, carry an individual infected with Ebola HF worldwide. Although health officials are working to isolate all potentially-infected individuals, this infection does have the potential to harm the more than 7 billion humans living on our fragile planet.

Luckily, this outbreak of Ebola HF appears to be self limiting – unlike fictional accounts, such as the Hollywood film Outbreak with  Dustin Hoffman, which dramatized the worldwide threat of an Ebola HF outbreak.

 References

USAID. Uganda. (2012). Accessed August 10, 2012.

Muhumuza, R. Ebola Under Control in Uganda. (2012) Boston.com. Accessed August 10, 2012.

US CDC. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. (2012). Accessed August 10, 2012.

World Health Organization. Ebola in Uganda: August 10 Update. (2012). Accessed August 10, 2012.

BBC News. Outbreak of Ebola in Uganda. (2012). Accessed August 10, 2012.

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