Speculations as to the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes in Uganda have finally been brought to an unfavorable conclusion. Uganda health officials have reported that the cause of the disease is the Ebola virus. The officials and a World Health Organization (WHO) representative told a news conference in Kampala Saturday that there is “an outbreak of Ebola” in Uganda.
In their statement, they mentioned that “Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute…have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola hemorrhagic fever.” The 14 dead were among 20 reported with the disease. Two of the infected have been isolated for examination by researchers and health officials; a clinical officer and, days later, her 4-month-old baby died from the disease caused by the Ebola virus, the officials said.
The Ebola, which manifests itself as a hemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized. The disease is “characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients” says a Centre for Disease Control (CDC) factsheet on the virus.
There is yet no cure or vaccine for Ebola and the disease killed 224 people in Uganda in 2000, leaving even more traumatized then. This new outbreak resurrects terrible memories.