GENEVA -- A new form of the deadly Ebola virus has been detected in an outbreak in western Uganda that has so far killed 16 people, the World Health Organization said Friday.Ebola is known as a "retro-virus", meaning it evolved "backwards" from a more complex life form. Ebola is made of a single strand of RNA, which invades the host cell and takes over its functions, which then creates new virus particles.
Tests conducted by a national lab in Uganda and confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the virus belongs to a different subtype than the four already known, said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.
"We are very concerned about this because it does not present (symptoms) in exactly the same way as other Ebola strains," he said, adding that the new subtype appeared to be associated with vomiting, which does not usually occur in Ebola patients.
Ebola typically kills most of those it strikes through massive blood loss, and has no cure or treatment. It is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions.The Reston outbreak is especially worrisome, because even though it wasn't fatal to humans, it was devastating to monkeys. And the scary part is, it appears to have been transferred by air, not direct fluid contact.
"This could be a milder strain of the disease, but we still need additional information to confirm that," Formenty said.
The three main subtypes usually kill 50 to 90 percent of infected patients. A fourth subtype, Reston, does not cause any symptoms and is not fatal.
If Ebola Zaire ever mutates to that point, the entire planet could get sick within a matter of weeks, with an over-90% death rate.
Yes. That is scary.
But no matter. We're approaching the holiday season, and a spirit of joy and giving should soon alleviate those worries. That's why I've decided to start featuring wonderful gift ideas here at ConnecticutBob.Com
Let's start with this:
Your very OWN plushie Ebola virus!
This lovely, hugable soft creature is a replica of the Ebola virus, magnified over a million times!
And you'll get a million times the hugs from your special loved one when you give them Ebola!
Available online (along with other popular bugs, such as plushie "E. Coli", plushie "Syphilis", and plushie "Chicken Pox") from GIANTmicrobes.com
Infect your whole family!
UPDATE: We got our 300,000th hit today! Woo-hoo!
And, since I'm such a big Ebola fan, here's the new logo for my new website: