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Ebola Outbreak Kills 13 In Uganda 105

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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  • by ragefan ( 267937 ) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @03:52PM (#40803347)

    Is Madagascar shut down yet?

  • Proximity (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @04:08PM (#40803415)

    Considering the close proximity between this story and the Monkey Brains story just after, I think I may have to stay away from Slashdot for a few days...

    Thank God I bought that anti-virus HDMI cable or I'd really be sweating.

  • I guess the researcher for the article hasn't read this story: []

  • If they've only got 20 people affected so far, it sounds fairly small compared to the last couple outbreaks. Hope they can establish good controls to keep it from spreading.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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. vic
      • 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.

        • by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@got . n et> 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 History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @07:48PM (#40804461) Journal
            Which is why Marburg is the one to worry about, not quite as lethal but a longer incubation period if I recall.
            • by Schz ( 1228146 )
              On top of that--and much more frightening--Marburg has a higher rate of successful transmission. Given a choice between the two, the individual would go for Marburg, but the epidemiologist would sure as hell go for Ebola. Furthermore, we don't know what Ebola would do if it got into an airline or a major city. Viruses have a nasty, nasty habit of changing their behavior if they change their setting. Influenza in a sparse population is an annoyance, but in a dense one, it can be a disaster. We just don't kno
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Since Ebola is not airborne, I think you're seriously overestimating the possible transmission rate. Transmission requires *close* bodily contact. That means touching fluids. I don't know about your sex life, but not that many people are in contact with my bodily fluids (captcha: turgid) in any given week (and almost never anyone I'm on a plane with). Anyone symptomatic wouldn't be getting on a plane, so they wouldn't even be bleeding yet to spread it.

          • Can you provide some evidence to support your statement that ebola as we know it could "cripple the world?" Not arguing with you, I just didn't think that it was transmissible enough to cause a problem the way, say, a flu virus with high lethality would be. As case in point (and I know this is poor quality evidence, but take it with as much salt as you need) in 'The Hot Zone' Preston describes someone infected with Marburg on a commercial flight who is massively contagious--shedding virus in blood and vomit

      • by Shag ( 3737 )

        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.

        Oh, sorry - I was thinking of the Ugandan experience with big outbreaks specifically - the 2000 one in the north of the country that infected more people than any other Ebola outbreak before or since (knock on wood), and the 2007 one in Bundibugyo.

  • 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.
    • 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. []

    • 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.
      • We've got vaccines for rabies...

        • by Prune ( 557140 )
          You should learn to think before letting your itchy Reply-clicking finger get the better of you. 1) Airborne rabies with influenza-like transmissibility would spread before you can manufacture and distribute enough vaccine to immunize all but a small fraction of the population. 2) A rabies-influenza hybrid would have the flu's core capability of very quickly changing its surface antigens, which makes the flu vaccines so hit and miss--the virus has the upper hand in this arms race--and those are things activ
    • All the more reason to move everything online were the only virus one has to worry about is computer.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @05:10PM (#40803659)

    which began in late June but has only just been confirmed as Ebola

    Operative words being "just confirmed" - I'm sure doctors and researchers have known since July 1st that it was Ebola.

    The problem is that the governments in these countries are terrified of not the threat of Ebola spreading, but of damage to commerce, particularly tourism - and will coerce researchers and doctors to not discuss or reveal outbreaks.

  • ...on whether they did in fact hate Weird Al's ringtone...

  • Good thing I have all those symptoms for the last 2 days, lol. Luckily I'm in Wisconsin and everyone in the chain of people who caught it is still alive and has recovered and zinc seemed to have fended it off pretty well, but still :-P
  • you really need to fix that overpopulation. The thing is so horrible, it's the closest thing in reality to an actual apocalyptic zombie outbreak. Close personal contact, large crowded cities. I hardly dare think about it
    • by RoLi ( 141856 )

      you really need to fix that overpopulation.

      Don't worry, as soon as the European and American aid dries up (currently about half of all sub-saharan Africans are dependent on food aid) Africa will revert back to the pre-colonial times. As the economic crisis will harden in the next years, this is just a matter of time.

      And as we have all learned in school, colonialism was a really bad thing, therefore the coming decolonialization (not what we saw in the 1960's, but the real thing that will destroy any remnant of evil western civilization in these lands

      • in the long run it will be a good thing, but there's more to africa since the chinese are atm making use of it wherever they can it won't be really de-colonized. What's sure is that the colonial powers of old are on the downslope of the curve atm. The boost they got after having to rebuild after WW2 is over, there's gonna be retracement to a certain level , thing is people in charge have these golden years they take as 'the norm' so to them this is already a disastrous time. I think it's gonna get much wors
  • Wonder if they can do something similar to rabies, where they induced a coma and drip feed anti-virus drugs into the infected person. Then wait and hope the person and the anti-viral drugs have enough strength to kill off the virus.

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