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Killer ebola virus causes pain and rash

Uganda has confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, saying 14 people have died so far. Here are facts about the virus, and symptoms.

Uganda has confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, saying 14 people have died so far. Here are facts about the virus, and symptoms.

- Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a severe, usually fatal disease in humans and primates that has appeared sporadically since it was identified in 1976. The virus is named after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, where it surfaced.

- There are five known subtypes of the Ebola virus. Four of the five have caused disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The fifth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in non-human primates.

- Ebola is often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, a headache and a sore throat. This is often followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, a rash, impaired kidney and liver function and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding. The fever has an incubation period of two to 21 days. There is no specific treatment or vaccine.

- Ebola is transmitted through blood, secretions, organs and bodily fluids.

- The last major outbreak was in 2007-2008 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing 187 of 264 people infected. A separate outbreak occurred in the Bundibugyo District in western Uganda, with 131 cases and 42 deaths.

* Reuters, US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO.

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