Ebola virus kills 14 in Uganda
The deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, health officials have said.
The Ebola virus Photo: EPA
The diagnosis ends weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes.
“Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute … have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola haemorrhagic fever,” the Ugandan government and WHO said in joint statement.
Kibaale is a district in Midwestern Uganda, where people in recent weeks have been troubled by a mysterious illness that seemed to have come from nowhere.
Health officials said that the 14 dead were among 20 reported with the disease. Two of the infected have been isolated for examination by researchers and health officials.
Officials urged Ugandans to be calm, saying a national emergency task force had been set up to stop the disease from spreading far and wide.
There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, and in Uganda, where in 2000 the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatised, it resurrects terrible memories.
Ebola, which manifests itself as a haemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognised, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A CDC fact sheet on Ebola says the disease is “characterised by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.”