A little over a month ago, I was in the Fort Portal area of west-central Uganda. Our group was on a chimpanzee trek. We only stayed one night.
In July, after I got back to the US, there was a reported Ebola outbreak in the west-central Uganda. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) which has a presence in Kampala, Uganda (largely to deal with the HIV/AIDs epidemic):
The Ugandan Ministry of Health has reported an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Kibaale District of western Uganda. As of July 31, there have been 38 cases and 16 deaths.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a scary disease which has occasionally struck central Africa. Although rare, it is an extremely deadly. It is spread by direct contact with blood and/or body fluids of an infected person. It can also be spread by ingesting the meat of an infected animal (ape). Symptoms include fever, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
The Ebola outbreak is now thought to be under control. One infected individual did make it to Kampala (Uganda’s largest city) resulting in some panic, but he doesn’t appear to have infected anybody.
In a new initiative, sponsored in part by UNICEF, health workers are using cell phones to text details of drug supplies and disease outbreaks that they had previous put on paper. This system was engaged after the recent Ebola outbreak, mostly used to disprove reports of further cases and limit public hysteria.
Although there is no known cure for Ebola, there is hope on the horizon. Monkeys infected with the Ebola virus have been cured by a chemical cocktail administered soon after the initial exposure. According to a report in Nature, researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Canada, administered three different antibodies to four infected macaques monkeys. All four survived without side effects. The one monkey that was not treated died within five days of the infection.