California doctors warned of Ebola outbreak in Uganda

California officials are urging doctors to be alert for any signs of Ebola symptoms among people who have recently traveled to Uganda, the East African country currently experiencing a large outbreak.

So far, the Ebola outbreak in Uganda has been confined to rural areas of the East African country. No cases of Ebola have been reported in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, or Entebbe, home to the country’s international airport, according to a recent bulletin from the California Department of Public Health.

“However, the spread of the epidemic in the region is possible due to several factors,” the report said. They include the likelihood that Ebola had spread weeks before the index case was identified and that patients initially sought care in health facilities with suboptimal infection control practices.

Additionally, some of the earliest victims were buried in grand ceremonies, and the area where the outbreak began was along a major highway two hours from the Ugandan capital and leading into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are 54 confirmed and 20 probable cases of Ebola in the recent outbreak, along with 39 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. An epidemic was declared on September 20. The strain of Ebola causing this outbreak is known as the Sudanese species; past outbreaks of the Sudanese species have resulted in a 50% mortality rate.

There are no approved vaccines or drugs to prevent or treat Ebola Sudan species. The current Ebola vaccine is designed for use against Ebola Zaire species and is not expected to protect against Ebola Sudan species, according to California health officials.

On October 6, federal authorities began routing all US-bound passengers who traveled to Uganda within 21 days of arrival through one of five airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Travelers at these airports will be checked for symptoms by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those showing no symptoms will be allowed to continue to their final destination. Those arriving in Los Angeles County as their final destination will be referred to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department for continued monitoring, local health officials said.

Once in LA County, the local public health department will provide travelers with information to monitor for symptoms, and they will be given a phone number to call a county nurse if they have questions or begin to feel unwell. symptoms.

It can take 21 days between exposure to the virus for symptoms to appear.

No cases of Ebola have been reported in the United States, the California Department of Public Health said. But state officials and infectious disease experts have told doctors to be on the lookout for symptoms consistent with Ebola virus infection in people who have recently traveled to Uganda.

“So just to remind you what to look out for: fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding gums, etc., but not in everyone,” UC San Francisco infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong recently told his colleagues at a town hall meeting on campus. “So far not a concern in the United States, but again, something we are watching very closely.”

During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, centered in West Africa and caused by Ebola Zaire species, 11 people in the United States were treated for the virus. Of the 11, two died – both in West Africa.

The 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic – the largest since the discovery of Ebola in 1976 – resulted in more than 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Ebola is usually spread through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids – including saliva, sweat and vomit – from someone who is sick or has died from the virus. It does not spread through air, food or water.

People can only spread the Ebola virus after they develop symptoms of illness.

“Ebola poses little risk to travelers or the general public who have not cared for or been in close contact (within three feet or one meter) of someone sick with Ebola,” the Centers for Disease Control said. and Prevention from the United States.

During an Ebola outbreak, however, the virus “can spread rapidly in healthcare settings,” the CDC added.

LA County is prepared for Ebola cases if they arrive locally, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

The county has the capacity to test for Ebola and is home to a regional Ebola treatment center. In 2016, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles was designated a Regional Ebola Treatment Center, meaning it agreed to accept Ebola patients from elsewhere in California, as well as Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the US Pacific Ocean territories.

Other hospitals in California that can treat Ebola patients, according to a 2016 state press release, include Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, UC Irvine Medical Center, UC San Diego Medical Center , UC San Francisco Medical Center, UC Davis Medical Center, and Kaiser Hospitals in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Sacramento.

Los Angeles Times

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