WHO: Ebola outbreak under control | News | DW | 03.08.2012

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WHO: Ebola outbreak under control

The WHO has said that Ebola, having broken out in Uganda, is under control. Several people have already died from the disease, which has returned periodically to haunt the continent since it first broke out in 1976.

The Ebola virus, which has been spreading through Uganda, is being contained World Health Organization spokesman Joaquim Saweka told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

“The structure put in place is more than adequate,” Saweka said. “We are isolating the suspected or confirmed cases.”

Saweka said that all of the 176 people who had come into contact with the Ebola virus had been isolated.

"Today we have 50 suspected cases and 16 dead," another WHO spokesman, Tarek Jasarevic, said to reporters.

The epidemic is currently limited to the country's western region, according to Jasarevic. He added that a single case reported in the country's capital Kampala, which had prompted concern about the disease spreading, was the result of a person with the Ebola virus being brought to the capital.

Organizations such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Doctors Without Borders are assisting Uganda in preventing the movement of the virus.

Ebola first broke out in early July in the country's Kibale district, 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Kampala, and just 50 kilometers from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ebola's ignominious history in Africa

It is not the first time an Ebola epidemic has gripped Uganda; an outbreak in 2007, again in western Uganda, killed 37. It also spread through the north of the country in 2000, claiming at least 170 victims.

Ebola victim

Ebola has a regrettable history in Africa going back four decades

The Ebola virus is a rare haemorrhagic disease. It is fatal and causes both internal bleeding and bleeding out of orifices. It is spreadable by direct contact with bodily fluids including blood, according to the WHO.

The first cases of one of the world's scariest diseases were reported almost 40 years ago, in 1976, in Sudan and Zaire - now DR Congo. The virus itself is named after a small river in DR Congo.

sej/ng (AP, AFP)