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Animal disease in humans a threat

By Carol Natukunda

Added 11th November 2016 09:56 AM

In 2000, hundreds of people in northern Uganda succumbed to Ebola before it re-emerged in 2012

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In 2000, hundreds of people in northern Uganda succumbed to Ebola before it re-emerged in 2012

Animal and environmental diseases such as Ebola, Maburg and Athrax are a growing public health threat, the Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has said. 

“Recent outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging diseases commonly spreading from animals to humans simply attest to how vulnerable we are. Especially considering how fatal they are, and how quickly and widely they can spread.

Ebola, Marburg, Congo Crimean Fever, Rift Valley Fever, and the recent Yellow Fever outbreaks are all testimony. 

“In less than 36 hours, these diseases can cross to the farthest corners of the world because of our interconnectedness through travels, trade, tourism, education and all,” Aceng said Uganda has had a series of Ebola and Maburg outbreaks.

In 2000, hundreds of people in northern Uganda succumbed to Ebola. In 2012, the disease re-emerged and claimed about 37 lives in Bundibugyo, western Uganda.  Ebola, which manifests itself as a haemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious.

It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognised, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Marburg virus disease, on the other hand, is a virus from the same family as the one that causes Ebola virus disease.  

According to the world health organization, the last outbreak of Maburg in Uganda occurred in 2012 during which 20 cases, including 9 fatal cases were reported from Kabale District, Kampala, Ibanda, Mbarara, and Kabarole.

WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on Uganda based on the current information available on this outbreak. 

Aceng, in a statement released to the media ahead of the regional biosafety conference at Sheraton Kampala hotel next week, said she hopes that experts can find a solution to combat such diseases.

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