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Ebola Outbreak In Uganda And New Seal Flu Virus Have Scientists Worried



An outbreak of the Ebola virus has emerged in rural western Uganda.

19 cases of the deadly virus were reported at Kibaale Hospital on Tuesday morning, Uganda's daily The New Vision reported. Fourteen people have died from the virus in the past three weeks, one of whom died in the capital city Kampala.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told the press on Monday that seven doctors and 13 health workers from Mulago Hospital in Kampala have been put under quarantine after having treated patients with the virus.

Nigeria's Channels TV reported that President Museveni warned people to avoid shaking-hands, sexual contact and makeshift burials to prevent contracting the virus.

A health officer in the area told the television station that up to 80,000 people could be at risk of contracting the disease, which causes nausea, fever and both internal and external bleeding.

The virus takes its name from the Ebola River in DR Congo, where it was first found in 1976. In 2000, more than 200 people died in an outbreak in Uganda.

Scientists also fear that an outbreak of a strain of influenza found in seals off the coast of New England could pose a threat to humans.

Researching the deaths of 162 seals, scientists have discovered that the H3N8 strain of flu has been passed on to the species from North American birds.

Dr Anne Moscona of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City told the BBC: "There is a concern that we have a new mammalian-transmissable virus to which humans haven't yet been exposed. It's a combination we haven't seen in disease before."

The virus has potential to pass from species to species with severe symptoms.

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