Published Date: 2012-08-06 20:30:20
Subject: PRO/EDR> Ebola hemorrhagic fever - Uganda (13)
Archive Number: 20120806.1230691
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER - UGANDA (13)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 4 Aug 2012
Source: The East African [abbrev., edited]
East Africa in panic as Ebola strike again in Uganda
So far what we see is that it is atypical. Its behaviour is 'very suspicious' Dr Anthony Mbonye the Commissioner for Health Services at the Ministry of Health told The East African, explaining that unlike the typical Sudan strain, victims in the latest [outbreak] suffer fevers without the bleeding normally associated with the virus. The Uganda Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Ebola in Kibaale district, about 160km [100 miles] west of Kampala. Confirmatory test results were done at the Centres for Disease Control, Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) laboratory in Entebbe. The authorities have been following 176 people that came into contact with the deceased while another 38 suspected cases were under observation.
Although it is confirmed as the Ebola Sudan strain, a viral haemorrhagic fever, it is presenting with less bleeding or haemorrhage, as should be the case with Ebola. "We are not seeing much of the bleeding this time," said Dr Jackson Amone, the Assistant Commissioner Integrated Services at the Ministry of Health who was travelling to Kagadi Hospital in Kibaale, western Uganda, where the 1st cases were reported.
Ebola typically presents with fever, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhoea, joint pains and bleeding. "Most of the patients bleed when they are about to die with the cases we are handling. Sometimes you can confuse it for malaria because there is a high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea," said Dr Amone. According to health workers, in the absence of body fluids the latest strain is easier to manage because Ebola virus is transmissible through contact with body fluids -- saliva, vomit, sweat, blood or other fluids -- in the body of an infected person.
As more investigations are ongoing, samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers (VHF) laboratory in the USA. Results are expected after one week. "CDC is sending samples to Atlanta to do additional sequencing. But the indication now is that it is not a new strain. It is the Sudan strain based on PCR testing, which is specific, said Erik Friedly, the associate head of communication at CDC-Uganda.
CDC health experts said the bleeding is not always present, even though that is what people think of with viral haemorrhagic fevers so less bleeding this time round does not necessarily mean "anything in particular." Dr Denis Lwamafa, the Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, said that although Ebola is a highly infectious disease, which kills within a short time, it can also be prevented if detected early enough and if people adhere to precautionary measures. The Ministry of Health has advised against direct contact with people suffering from Ebola, public gatherings and eating dead meat especially from monkeys.
Neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Kenya have also dispatched medical teams and gear to border towns to help in mitigating spread of the viral disease.
[Byline: Esther Nakkazi; Evelyn Lirri]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall
[It remains to be seen whether the reduced haemorrhage associated with this outbreak will make the disease easier to contain and eliminate. The results of the genome sequencing being undertaken at present are awaited with interest. - Mod.CP
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1wa6.]