‘Ebola is real’: Uganda to trial vaccines and shut schools early to contain outbreak Read more
Hospitals are the first line of response, but the outbreak is likely to spread, and there is little capacity to deal with such a large number of suspected cases. By 20 August, it had reported more than 1,500 cases in 13 countries and 2,732 deaths.
The virus is spread through bodily fluids that are exposed to the virus by coughing or sneezing. It causes a fever around 40.5C (104F) and can last for days and leave the body looking sickly. The incubation period of the virus is 11 days, but the infected person generally does not show any symptoms.
As of Tuesday, 2,819 suspected cases were confirmed in Uganda, but only six deaths have been reported, the government’s health ministry said.
In his statement on Tuesday, WHO’s deputy director general, Erik Hernstadt, said it was difficult to predict how quickly the disease would spread. And he added that if an outbreak of Ebola “gets out of control, it could be lethal”.
WHO plans to launch clinical trials of a vaccine against Ebola by the end of the year, and Hernstadt said such trials would need to be done in the context of controlling an outbreak.
“The trials will be carried out following WHO’s guidelines and in close consultation with stakeholders,” he said in a statement. “Only once they are completed will the WHO be ready to recommend them.”