Uganda is fighting Ebola in West Africa following a catastrophic out break of the virus in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The disease has claimed close to 1000 lives and infected many sparking an emergency response from several African countries with Uganda sending a team of health experts to help contain the situation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , the Ebola Virus in West Africa is a public health emergency and is a risk to other nations around the world thus calling for quick humanitarian intervention.
Uganda which has vast experience in fighting the disease after outbreaks in the country were first recorded in 2000 where 425 people were infected has its health experts stationed in Sierra Leone to spear head the fight against the disease. Dr.Jackson Amone, a leading East African Ebola expert is one of the doctors who volunteered to go and contain the disease in West Africa. The Entebbe based Uganda Virus Research Institute where he works is a leading player in conducting Ebola research in Africa and has facilities that can easily test for the virus within 24 fours. The country has successfully contained four Ebola outbreaks after the first occurance in 2000.
Facts about Ebola
- According to the World Health Organization, the virus first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and another in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo former Zaire. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the name of the disease was coined.
- Ebola virus disease (EVD) is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) and it is caused by the Ebola Virus.
- Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, malfunctioning of some organs like the liver and kidney, bleeding from different body openings, among others.
- The disease is extremely contagious and and has a fatality rate of 90%.
- Incubation period on the body is 21 days.
- There is no vaccine: However, an experimental vaccine (The VSV-EBOV vaccine) has been developed and will be donated to help fight the current outbreak in West Africa.
About the VSV-EBOV vaccine
- The scientists at the Canadian National Microbiology Lab who developed VSV-EBOV and the federal government own the intellectual property associated with the vaccine. The federal government licensed the rights to further develop the product for human use to Bio Protection Systems, a U.S.-based biotechnology company.
- World Health Organization in a statement said that it would be ethical to use untested treatments to fight the Ebola outbreak.
- Dr. Kobinger a scientist from National Micro biology Lab says the vaccine can be administered before exposure to the Ebola virus, and in animal models it has also shown efficacy after exposure.
- The vaccine has never been tested in humans in the context of safety trials, one individual received the vaccine after lab exposure to the virus in Germany with no known side effects.
- He added that the vaccine has been tested in animals, and researchers have not recorded any serious adverse events from those animal trials.