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Deadly Ebola Outbreak Emerges in Western Uganda August 3, 2012
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Doctors caring for a suspected Ebola sufferer during mid-July in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has killed at least 16 people among 36 suspected cases that have emerged in western Uganda since early July.

Nine of the fatalities occurred in one household. Two of the victims was taken to Mulago Hospital, in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, where seven doctors and 13 health workers were placed in quarantine after they came in contact with the infected bodies.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni addressed the nation over the crisis, advising people to avoid shaking hands and other physical contact that could spread the disease.

Ebola is a rare hemorrhagic disease that was first identified in 1976 from outbreaks in Sudan and what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It has returned in small outbreaks since then, characterized by a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness and muscle pain that is followed by vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding.

The average fatality rate to date has been just under 70 percent.

There is no known cure, and doctors can provide only supportive care, such as replenishing fluids and electrolytes, as well as keeping blood pressure and oxygen levels in check.

The incubation period for Ebola is between two and 21 days, with an outbreak considered to be over only at 42 days after the last person becomes ill.

Photo: World Health Organization