Last year, an outbreak of Ebola Virus was responsible for 37 deaths in Uganda. The causative species has been found to be genetically unique from other types of Ebola Virus, as well. A very nice article in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Pathogens journal discusses the researchers’ findings.
Ebola (genus) is from the Filoviridae Family and was previously made up of four sub-groups, geographically based. Reston, Sudan, Zaire and Cote d’Ivoire now have company with the Bundibugyo strain. Of note, the Marburg Virus is also in the same Filoviridae family.
Fortunately, travelers have a very low risk of acquiring this lethal infection.
Risk factors for Ebola Virus:
- Preparing of “bush-meat“
- Handling of dead animals, especially primates
- Contact with the body fluids (blood, saliva, urine, vomit) of an infected person
Ebola takes it’s name from a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo where it was first noticed in 1976. Unfortunately, the virus carries a 50-90% mortality rate and there is no vaccine or treatment available. Common symptoms include a high fever, headache and myalgia that progress to a maculopapular rash with vomiting. A chart from the CDC shows all previous Ebola outbreaks and fatalities. Unfortunately, hospital workers represent a large number of cases. This should draw attention to a need for decreasing nosocomial transmissions in the effected countries and better protective equipment for patients and healthcare workers.
For some more information:
Citation and Link:
Towner JS, Sealy TK, Khristova ML, Albariño CG, Conlan S, et al. 2008 Newly Discovered Ebola Virus Associated with Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak in Uganda. PLoS Pathogens 4(11): e1000212 doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000212