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Ebola Outbreak Kills 13 In Uganda 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-call-dustin-hoffman dept.
The BBC reports that an outbreak of the Ebola virus has killed 13 in Uganda, and infected seven more. "The health ministry says emergency measures are in place to deal with 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 (100 miles) to the west of the capital Kampala. ... 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. The first victim of this outbreak was a pregnant woman."
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Ebola Outbreak Kills 13 In Uganda

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  • Re:Vaccine (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrQuacker (1938262) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @04:19PM (#40803461)

    80% survival for mice.

    TFA: He said the next step is to try the vaccine on a strain of Ebola that is closer to the one that infects humans.

  • by Doubting Sapien (2448658) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @04:42PM (#40803535)
    Which recent outbreaks are you referring to? Under the formal definition of an epidemic, even 20 cases is significant when considering the localization of the event. With something as virulent as Ebola, "minor" is not the most appropriate characterization under most circumstances. The upside, (if any can be considered as such) is that historic outbreaks of hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola burn so intensely and so quickly they usually burn themselves out even without much public health efforts. (ie. victims succumb quickly and expire before they can be effective in spreading it to others.) Granted, most past events have not been in urban areas with a high population density. In a developed country with modern transportation infrastructure to facilitate movement of (potentially infected) travelers, the result could be catastrophic without a strong effective response from public health services.
  • by Lurker2288 (995635) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @04:49PM (#40803571)

    But a developed country also has decent hospital infrastructure in place, which means that once you know you have something nasty (and people will figure it out when patients come in bleeding from their eyes) they'll institute proper infection control protocols. The reason there was such explosive transmission in many of the early African outbreaks is that you had nurses reusing hypodermic syringes between patients because they didn't have clean ones. So I'm not really sure a first world country (or even a more developed third world country, really) has too much to worry about a catastrophe.

  • The irony with Ebola (Score:5, Informative)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @05:02PM (#40803633)
    People wonder why Ebola never breaks out. The thing that makes it scary is the very thing that causes the burnout. Ebola hits fast and hard. You get sick in a matter of hours, a couple of days, instead of weeks. It also kills fast leaving a narrow window for transmission. It also isn't airborne making it harder than most think to transmit. Avoid touching fluids and you are probably safe. It's why Reston Marburg was so scary because it was airborne. Add in a longer incubation and period when it's communicable and you have a seriously scary disease. FYI Reston Marburg isn't fatal to humans, another lucky break. The point is we came that close so the odds of Ebola one day mutating and breaking out are extremely high. It's why it's so closely monitored. Ebola has the same potential as the Black Plague.
  • Re:Madagascar? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmai l . c om> on Saturday July 28, 2012 @05:28PM (#40803741) Homepage

    The game is pandemic/pandemic2. Just google it. You can, the trick is to use low visibility and infect everywhere. Then unleash unholy hell.

  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @05:44PM (#40803819)

    The outbreak in Reston wasn't Marburg... it was Ebola. "Reston ebolavirus", to be exact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_Reston [wikipedia.org]

  • by Genda (560240) <marietNO@SPAMgot.net> on Saturday July 28, 2012 @05:55PM (#40803883) Journal

    You don't understand what a firestorm an outbreak of ebola is capable of. Yes it has a short incubation period and time of death from first contact can be as little as several days depending on the health of the patient (this is actually good, because as has been said, it dramatically reduces the likelihood of large scale spread), but if an infected person were to get on a plane that touched down let's say in any major European city, then went either to the U.S. with a stop in the U.K. or to let's say Japan with a stop in India, the chance for an amazing number of people to become infected before the disease could be contained would be almost certain. With infected people changing flights, and traveling to other transportation hubs, where the disease could be passed on several times, you could have tens of millions of people infected in days. All the major cities of the world would have cases, and global transportation would collapse.

    The ebola we currently know will never kill billions, but it could cripple the world and cause untold horror. The one other major concern is that a large enough outbreak of ebola, could cause a significant number of mutations in the virus, with a virus that is airborne or a virus that has a longer incubation period, becoming a serious game changer. Such a virus would be much easier to spread and much harder to control. A slow ebola could kill billions.

  • by Prune (557140) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @06:40PM (#40804079)
    It would be much better to try to create an airborne strain of rabies. It has a sufficiently long incubation period, and is also essentially 100% fatal without early treatment, which is much better performance than Ebola. Probably some kind of influenza/rabies hybrid is the best option.

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