Uganda declares Ebola outbreak after ‘rare’ strain found
The case was detected in the Mubende district and comes after six suspicious deaths in the same area.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a further eight suspected cases are currently receiving care in a health facility.
“This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement.
“We are working closely with the national health authorities to investigate the source of this outbreak while supporting the efforts to quickly roll out effective control measures.
“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.”
WHO said it is deploying staff to the affected area, and has dispatched care supplies as well as a tent to isolate patients in.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal virus that causes severe bleeding and organ failure. It affects humans and other primates.
There are six different species of the virus.
Three of these – Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire – are responsible for large outbreaks in the past.
“Case fatality rates of the Sudan virus have varied from 41 to 100 per cent in past outbreaks,” WHO said.
“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.
“Early initiation of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola.”
In the past, the Ervebo vaccine has been used to ring-vaccinate high risk people in other African nations to help control the spread of Ebola.
However, WHO notes the drug was only approved for the Zaire virus.
“Another vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson may be effective but has yet to be specifically tested against Ebola Sudan,” it says.
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