The Ugandan president, is urging people to avoid all physical contact after an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Fourteen people have died since the disease was confirmed in the Kibaale district, in midwest Uganda three weeks ago. And it is said to have reached the capital Kampala, where one person has already died. Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases in the world. It is spread by close personal contact, and kills up to 90 per cent of those who become infected. Many die within days of becoming infected. Africa appears to be most vulnerable to the disease. There is no known vaccine for the virus, which causes fever and vomiting, and in some cases shuts down organs and causes unstoppable bleeding. Ebola has killed 1,200 people since it was first discovered in 1976. The health ministry says emergency measures are in place to deal with the outbreak, but can medical staff in Uganda cope, and what is being done elsewhere to find a cure? Why has this virus resurfaced after so many years? What measures are in place to deal with the outbreak? Do African countries have the capacity to deal with this kind of crisis effectively? And due to the nature of the virus, could the virus quickly spread to neighbouring countries? To answer these questions we are joined by our guests: Gregory Härtl, the coordinator of the Media Relations Department of Communications, at the Director General's office of the World Health Organization; Amanda McClelland, a senior emergency health officer and acting health coordinator for Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); and Dr. Michel van Herp, an epidemiologist and the Ebola specialist from Doctors Without Borders.
Published on Aug 1, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish