Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Uganda declares Ebola outbreak after one person dies

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An outbreak of Ebola has been declared in Uganda after health authorities confirmed a case of the relatively rare Sudan strain, the country’s health ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

A 24-year-old man in Uganda’s central Mubende district showed symptoms and later died.

“We want to inform the country that we have an outbreak of Ebola which we confirmed yesterday,” said Diana Atwine, the health ministry’s permanent secretary, Reuters reported.

Diana Atwine said the patient with the confirmed case had a high fever, diarrhoea and abdominal pains and was vomiting blood. He had initially been treated for malaria.

There are currently eight suspected cases receiving care in a health facility, WHO’s Africa office said in a statement. The statement added that WHO is helping Uganda’s health authorities with their investigation and deploying staff to the affected area.

“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control. Thanks to its expertise, action has been taken to quickly to detect the virus and we can bank on this knowledge to halt the spread of infections,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The WHO said there had been seven previous outbreaks of the Ebola Sudan strain, four in Uganda and three in Sudan.

“There have been seven previous outbreaks of the Sudan ebolavirus, with four occurring in Uganda and three in Sudan. Uganda last reported an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus in 2012. In 2019, the country experienced an outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus. The virus was imported from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo which was battling a large epidemic in its north-eastern region,” the statement said.

The WHO said ring vaccination of high-risk people with the Ervebo vaccine had been highly effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere but that this vaccine had only been approved to protect against the Zaire strain.

Another vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson may be effective but has yet to be specifically tested against the Sudan strain, it added.

(With input from Reuters)

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