3 Aug 2012

Ebola outbreak in Uganda

1:15 pm on 3 August 2012

Uganda says 16 people are known to have died after an Ebola outbreak in the west of the country. Another 18 are reported in quarantine.

The outbreak, which began in late June but has only just been confirmed as Ebola.

The cases have been reported in Kibaale district, about 170km to the west of the capital Kampala.

Officials said most are linked to one family, who may have contracted the virus while attending a funeral.

But a doctor working at a centre which analyses blood samples says there are only five confirmed cases and advised people not to panic.

The BBC reports Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases in the world. It is spread by close personal contact, and kills up to 90% of those who become infected.

There is no vaccine for the virus. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, headache, vomiting and impaired kidneys.

More than 1200 deaths from the virus have been recorded since it was discovered in 1976.

Uganda has seen three major outbreaks over the past 12 years. The deadliest was in 2000 when 425 people were infected. More than half of them died.