Deadly Ebola outbreak in western Uganda is over, says UN health agency

20 February 2008

Ugandan health authorities have declared that the deadly outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the country’s west is over, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

The last person in Bundibugyo district, which shares a border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to be infected by the virus was discharged from hospital on 8 January – more than double the maximum incubation period for the disease, WHO said in an update on the outbreak.

Laboratory analysis in the United States has confirmed that the virus in this outbreak is different from the three known African Ebola species and should be considered as a new species.

After the outbreak emerged last year, WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) joined forces with Ugandan health authorities and a series of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other international partners to fight the spread of the disease.

At least 37 people died in the outbreak, and there were 149 confirmed cases, according to Ugandan officials.

The Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, other bodily fluids or organs of infected persons or animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and antelopes, and it has an incubation period of two to 21 days.

Sufferers can experience fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, as well as vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes and impaired kidney and liver function. In the most severe cases, the virus can lead to both external and internal bleeding.

 

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