Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Zoonosis emerges? "Mystery illness" claims 38 lives in Uganda

At least 38 people have died from a mystery illness in northern Uganda. The Ugandan Ministry of Health said the preliminary tests had ruled out ebola, typhoid and several other diseases.

The illness was first reported on 10 November and more than 90 people have been treated for it.

Symptoms which last between two and 10 days appear to include a severe headache and dizziness, leading to diarrhoea and vomiting containing blood - although officials claim "a full recovery" is possible if medical help is received in the illness' early stages.

It is notable that people are being advised "not to eat meat from sick domesticated and wild animals" as it implies they may fear it to be a case of zoonosis - something that we discuss in issue four of The End is Nigh. A zoonotic disease is one that can be transmitted to people from animals and as noted in the Wikipedia page linked above, "of the 1,415 pathogens known to affect humans, 61% are zoonotic". The most famous of these include the devastatingly deadly Ebola virus, Marburg fever, 'bird flu' and, it is believed, HIV.

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