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Monday, October 20, 2014

Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever Among Hospitalised Children and Adolescents in Nothern Uganda: Epidemiologic and Clinical Observations -- African Health Sciences Vol.1 No.2

Today we are featuring African Health Sciences vol.1 no.2, which includes "Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever Among Hospitalised Children and Adolescents in Nothern Uganda: Epidemiologic and Clinical Observations" by Mupere et al. For the first time, on October 8th, 2000, an unusual outbreak occurred within the region of Gulu, Northern Uganda--Ebola haemorrhagic fever. Although in recent months outbreaks have had wide spread effects throughout Africa--with scientific studies on this illness increasing at a great scale--the authors of this journal first began this study years prior. 

The objectives were to understand and describe the epidemiological and clinical aspects of hospitalized children and adolescents on the isolation wards. The method used in this study was a retrospective descriptive survey of hospital records of children and adolescents under 18 years old in isolation wards in Gulu, Northern Uganda, with all patient test notes consecutively reviewed. 

The results of this study are incredibly intriguing: analyses revealed that 90 out of the 218 national laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever were children and adolescents with an overall fatality rate of 40%. The average age of patients was 8.2 years old and the youngest child held within the isolation ward was 3 years old. The under five age group contributed to the highest admission among both children and adolescents, as well as the sum of all case fatalities due to the close and prolonged exposure to the seropositive relatives also being treated. All 100% of the children and adolescents being treated within the ward were having or showing significant signs of fever, yet only 16% had haemorrhagic manifestations. 

In summary, as seen in the case of previous Ebola outbreaks, there was a higher than average risk associated with children five and under of either getting substantially sick or dying. It is suggested that in the event of a future Ebola outbreak, children be sheltered by the relatives that have been positively identified of contracting Ebola, as well as extensive focus being on educating children and adolescents on the dangers associated with close contact with the sick. 

For these articles and others from this issue, click here 

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