By Nangayi Guyson in Kampala

The dangerous Ebola hemorrhagic fever has bounced back in Uganda killing at least two people in Luweero district.

Samples of blood tests from Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) and Uganda Virus Research Institute Laboratory have confirmed an outbreak of the deadly virus for the second in the country this year.

First outbreak

According to Health reports, Ebola was first recognized in 1976 in Yambuku and surrounding area of DRC and it is believed that it killed more than 280 people. It was spread by close personal contact and by use of contaminated needles and syringes in hospitals/clinics.

Ebola first occurred 2000 and 2001 in Uganda’s districts of Gulu, Masindi, and Mbarara where it started spreading from one person to another after they attended a funeral of Ebola hemorrhagic fever case-patients. This outbreak claimed more than 224 lives and the second one was in Dec 2007 -Jan 2008 in Bundibugyo District in western Uganda where about 42 people where killed.  And the recent cases were May 2011 where one person was killed followed by this year‘s outbreak where 11 people were killed.

How disease spreads?

Ebola can be among the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found dead or ill in the rainforest and through direct contact at burial ceremonies where mourners have contact with the body of the deceased person. Transmission via infected semen can occur up to seven weeks after clinical recovery. Health-care workers have also frequently been infected while treating Ebola patients. This has occurred through close contact without the use of correct infection control precautions and adequate barrier nursing procedures.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms have always been a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings show low counts of white blood cells and platelets as well as elevated liver enzymes.

When Ebola first occurred in Uganda this year, President Yoweri Museveni urged people to avoid physical contact like shaking hands, kissing or having sex to prevent the disease from spreading.

Uganda is now battling about three dangerous diseases, Ebola, Nodding disease and Marburg virus.