Ebola in Uganda

Ebola is one of the most feared infectious diseases in the world and there is no specific treatment or vaccine. But despite being extremely virulent the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones.

Not entirely and wholly true.

Yes, it does kill people quickly and thus a pandemic is most, most, unlikely. But it doesn\’t infect and then immediately people are dead. There is time for further infections to occur.

What seems to have been the limiting factor in earlier outbreaks was that they were in very rural areas. We really don\’t know what will happen if it ever turns up in a crowded urban area.

Officials from Uganda’s health ministry only confirmed that the disease was Ebola at the weekend, by which point it had reached the capital.

But we might be about to find out.

9 comments on “Ebola in Uganda

  1. In these days of quick international travel, be easy enough for ebola (and other high fatality diseases) to travel worldwide.

  2. “But despite being extremely virulent the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones. ”

    As written, this is obviously false — if it was literally true then Ebola could *never* have spread to anyone else.

    (There’s no link here, but it’s a Telegraph article by a fool called Pflanz. I won’t provide the link in case I break the page).

  3. Tank – not so sure its false.
    If not coming into contact with someone else while infectious, hard for someone to spread the disease.
    There have been many outbreaks of the disease. So far none have wiped out civilisation – I think

  4. Richard: Chortle, chortle… I never have managed to sneak anything into Madagascar. Those bastards.

  5. Martin, read what was written: “kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones.” Read literally– ie. not generously interpreted to mean something similar but crucially not the same — this means that it can never spread to anyone, which is just false — it has spread to other people. (It hasn’t wiped out humanity, but even if that is due to its speed of killing, that’s a different claim).

  6. the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones.

    Obviously that doesn’t mean that each individual victim dies before spreading the disease. It means that as soon as any serious attempt has been made to contain outbreaks, the death rate has exceeded the rate of new infections.

    Generally, pandemic diseases are ones with a significant period during which a victim is infectious but not symptomatic. Ebola, in its known variants, is not like that.

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