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UN assists local health officials after deadly case of Ebola fever in Uganda

18 May 2011 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is helping Ugandan authorities to investigate a case of Ebola haemorrhagic fever which killed a 12-year-old girl in the East African nation earlier this month.

The girl, from the Luwero district in central Uganda, died a few hours after being admitted to hospital on 6 May, five days after first falling ill.

Laboratory tests in Entebbe confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus (Sudan species), WHO reported today, adding that a sample is now en route to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, United States, for further analysis.

Uganda has previously experienced outbreaks of Ebola fever, but the most recent outbreak was declared over in early 2008.

The country’s health officials have convened a task force that includes staff from WHO, and a joint Ugandan-WHO-CDC team has been deployed to Luwero district to conduct a detailed epidemiological investigation.

Control measures, including enhanced surveillance, have also been stepped up in the wake of the case.

The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, other bodily fluids or organs of infected persons or animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and antelopes, and it has an incubation period of two to 21 days.

Sufferers can experience fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, as well as vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes and impaired kidney and liver function. In the most severe cases, the virus leads to both external and internal bleeding.

WHO stressed that it does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions are applied to Uganda.

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