March 15, 2008
Laboratory analysis has confirmed the presence of a new strain of Ebola virus in a recent outbreak in humans in western Uganda, according to the World Health Organization.
As of Dec. 7, the number of suspected cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Uganda's Bundibugyo District had risen to 93—including 22 fatalities.
Laboratory experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided support to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in the diagnosis and analysis of samples from suspected cases.
Scientists previously identified four strains of Ebola virus—the Zaire, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Reston strains. According to the WHO, the mortality rate of Ebola hemorrhagic fever is 50 percent to 90 percent in human cases of clinical illness. The virus can infect humans, nonhuman primates, and some other mammals.
Laboratory observation has found that bats do not die after being experimentally infected with Ebola, leading to the hypothesis that bats may be the natural reservoir maintaining the virus in the tropical forest.