Gone But Not Forgotten
- Aug 18, 2002
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I couldn't find thread on it so.............
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/africa/05/24/sudan.mystery.ap/index.htmlWHO: Outbreak may be new Ebola strain
Tuesday, May 25, 2004 Posted: 1405 GMT (2205 HKT)
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Scientists suspect that a new milder strain of the Ebola virus may have caused the latest outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever in southern Sudan, the World Health Organization said Saturday.
Four of the 10 people infected with the Ebola-like virus have died in Yambio, a Sudanese town near the border with Congo, said Abdullahi Ahmed, head of WHO's southern Sudan office.
Tests of blood samples taken to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta indicated that the oubreak is not linked to the known strains of Ebola-like viruses that cause the severe viral infection, Ahmed said.
There are four known strains of Ebola-like viruses, three of which cause the deadly disease, the CDC said on its web site. The viruses are probably preserved in an undefined reservoir in the rain forests of Africa.
"The investigation could not match the known variants, so it could be a new variant," Ahmed told The Associated Press.
Scientists at the CDC will conduct genetic tests to characterize and classify the suspected new strain of the Ebola virus, Ahmed said.
So far the death rate is lower than has previously been experienced with Ebola outbreaks, he said, adding that this may indicate that the new virus is milder than other strains.
The suspected new variant has killed between 25 and 30 percent of the people infected, while other variants kill between 50 and 90 percent of those who contract the disease, Ahmed said.
The symptoms of the illness around Yambio include general malaise, fever, vomiting blood and bloody diarrhea.
There had been no new cases reported in the last four days, Ahmed said, adding that one person remains under investigation. The incubation period for the virus is 21 days. The most recent case began on May 15.
Southern Sudan has been wracked by civil war since 1983; thousands of people are periodically displaced by fighting, and public health facilities are rare.
The first recognized Ebola epidemic occurred almost simultaneously in southern Sudan and in a nearby region of the Congo in 1976, according to the CDC.
At the time, Ebola killed 117 of the 284 people who were reported with the viral infection in southern Sudan. In Congo, it killed 280 of the 318 people infected.
In 2000, an Ebola outbreak killed 173 people in Gulu district in northern Uganda, which also borders southern Sudan.
The Ebola virus is spread by contact with body fluids, including sweat and saliva. Outbreaks of the disease are rare, and no one knows where the virus lives when it is not infecting humans. The disease usually kills its victims so fast that it also destroys the host for the virus.
Ugandan health officials said they had circulated warnings in areas that border Sudan and had put health workers on high alert.
Ebola virus kills four in Sudan
Health officials are investigating a new outbreak of the Ebola virus that has killed four people in Sudan.
A team from the World Health Organization (WHO) has traced the outbreak to Yambio, in the Western Equatorial region of south Sudan.
There are 19 probable cases. About 120 people who came into contact with them are being kept under surveillance.
A WHO spokesperson told the BBC the outbreak did not appear to be as virulent as previous ones.
Despite earlier reports, it was not thought that a new strain of Ebola was involved.PAST MAJOR OUTBREAKS
1976 - southern Sudan, 117 deaths
1995 - Congo, 280 deaths
2000 - northern Uganda, 173 deaths
2002 - Congo, 100 deaths
The Ebola virus in its early stages is hard to diagnose because some of the symptoms, like fever and joint pain, mimic malaria.
Many people go on to develop internal bleeding, a characteristic typical of Ebola, and without medical attention the prospects are bleak.
A crisis group has been set up with aid agencies in the region, in an attempt to curtail the spread.
The biggest recent outbreak was in Uganda four years ago; hundreds died.
The BBC's Karen Allen on the Kenya-Sudan border says the hope is that quick action now will avert a similar crisis in southern Sudan.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/05/24 19:33:17 GMT
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