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Ebola Virus Uganda Outbreak: What Is It?

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This file picture taken March 9, 2003 in the Kelle hospital, in northwestern Congo, shows an agent of the Congolese Red Cross disinfecting a room, where an Ebola fever infected patient lies.
This file picture taken March 9, 2003 in the Kelle hospital, in northwestern Congo, shows an agent of the Congolese Red Cross disinfecting a room, where an Ebola fever infected patient lies.

The Ebola virus is back in the news, with the World Health Organization confirming a recent outbreak of Ebola in Uganda.

Ugandan health officials said 14 people in the western part of the country have died from the infection this month. The officials urged Ugandans to remain calm, saying that a task force had been set up in an effort to stop the disease from spreading.

There are actually five different "species" of Ebola, according to the World Health Organization. Three of these species -- Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaïre -- have been linked with outbreaks in Africa that come with high death rates of 25 to 90 percent, the WHO reported.

However, there has never been a case of Ebola virus in humans in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ebola -- named after a river that runs through the Democratic Republic of Congo -- is contracted by humans when they come into contact with animals that also have the virus, according to the Mayo Clinic. But from there, it can also be spread human-to-human when a person comes into contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, or from needle-sharing. The virus actually causes a condition called Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

Symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever often include headache, sore throat, diarrhea, fever and even rash and bleeding in some people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These symptoms will usually occur anywhere from five to 10 days after the person has become infected, the Mayo Clinic reported.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Ebola -- people who have the condition are usually treated by receiving fluids and having blood replaced if they've lost blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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