29 dead, WHO concerned about the ineffectiveness of vaccines

The Ebola epidemic in Uganda has claimed 29 lives, including four health workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, worried about the ineffectiveness of vaccines against the so-called strain. “Sudanese” of the virus.

“Vaccines used successfully to stem recent Ebola outbreaks in the DRC are not effective against the type of Ebola virus responsible for this outbreak” in Uganda, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference. “However, several vaccines are in various stages of development against this virus, two of which could begin clinical trials in Uganda in the coming weeks, pending regulatory and ethical clearances from the Ugandan government.”he specified.

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Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the WHO, explained that there are about six candidate vaccines against the Sudanese strain of Ebola virus, “mostly at very early stages of development”. “But three of them have human data, immunogenicity and safety data, so they can be used in the field as part of a ring vaccination campaign, like this was done for the Ebola outbreak in the DRC a few years ago”she said.

On September 20, the Ugandan Ministry of Health announced the presence of a ” epidemic “ of the Ebola virus in Uganda, after the death of a young man of 24 years. According to WHO Africa, this case comes from a strain “relatively rare” Sudanese strain, which had not been reported in Uganda since 2012. According to the WHO regional office, although there is no specific treatment for this strain, early identification of cases and treatment of symptoms are increasing considerably the chances of survival.

Over $2 million raised

So far, 63 confirmed and probable cases have been identified, including 29 deaths, Dr Tedros said. 10 health workers were infected and 4 died. “When there is a delay in detecting an Ebola outbreak, it is normal for cases to increase steadily at first and then decrease as life-saving interventions and control measures continue. of the epidemic are implemented”explained the head of the WHO.

Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Ugandan Minister of Health, announced on Twitter the death, early Wednesday, of a 58-year-old anesthesiologist. Uganda has already experienced outbreaks of Ebola, a disease discovered in 1976 in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2000, 200 people died in Uganda during an epidemic in the north of the country.

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Starting in southern Guinea in December 2013, the most violent Ebola epidemic in history hit West Africa until 2016, claiming the lives of more than 11,300 people. The DRC has experienced more than a dozen outbreaks since 1976, but they were caused by the strain “Zaire” against which vaccines are effective. This hemorrhagic fever is transmitted to humans by infected animals. Human transmission is through body fluids, with the main symptoms of fever, vomiting, bleeding, diarrhea.

Dr Tedros said the WHO has released $2 million from its emergency reserve fund to help fight the outbreak in Uganda. The organization is working with its partners to strengthen the health response by sending specialists and medical supplies.

Read also: DRC: the government confirms a case of Ebola in the east of the country

President Yoweri Museveni last week ruled out any lockdown, saying the country had the capacity to contain the outbreak. The first cases were recorded in the district of Mubende, in the center of the country, before spreading to the neighboring districts of Kassanda, Kyegegwa and Kagadi. Mubende is located about two hours drive from the capital Kampala and lies along a busy road leading into the DRC. According to WHO Africa, there are gold mines in the region, which attract people from different parts of Uganda, as well as other countries.

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The World with AFP

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