14 people were killed this month in western Uganda after the deadly Ebola virus emerged. Thousands of people fled their homes over the last month as a mysterious disease began to spread, leading health authorities to search for the cause of the deaths.
In a joint statement regarding the outbreak World Health Organization (WHO) and Ugandan government officials wrote:
“Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute…have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola hemorrhagic fever.”
The outbreak centered around the midwestern district of Kibaale and was only confirmed after weeks of testing had been performed by local officials.
20 people contracted the disease including a 4-month-old baby who died following an infection.
Ebola, which has no cure, claimed the lives of 224 people in 2000 and since that time some isolated cases have been reported including in 2007 when a new strain of Ebola killed 37 people in a remote district along the Congolese border.
Ebola, a disease which creates hemorrhagic fever can include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, sore throat, diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and internal and external bleeding. The disease was first discovered in 1976 in Congo.
The disease is especially dangerous because of its ease of contract which includes blood or secretions from an infected person or through interaction with objects that have been contaminated through someones secretions.
It is the ease of catching the disease through everyday objects that caused many residents to flee their homes. Although citizens did not know the disease was Ebola and thought it had something to do with bad luck.