Uganda’s Ebola outbreak is over, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Uganda’s Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, announced on Wednesday (January 11th), less than four months after announcing the start of the epidemic which claimed the lives of 55 people. “We successfully controlled the Ebola outbreak in Uganda”welcomed the minister, during a ceremony organized in Mubende, the epicenter of the epidemic.
According to the WHO, an epidemic is said to be stopped when there is no new case for forty-two consecutive days, i.e. twice the incubation period of Ebola. The last confirmed patient with the virus was discharged from hospital on November 30, 2022, health authorities said.
“Uganda brought the Ebola outbreak to an early end by strengthening key control measures such as surveillance, contact tracing and infection, prevention and control”, according to Jane Ruth Aceng, adding that 142 cases have been confirmed in the country, and that 55 people have died. This disease reappeared on September 20, 2022 in central Uganda, with a first case from a strain called “Sudanese”against which there is currently no vaccine.
But three experimental serums – one developed by the University of Oxford and the Jenner Institute in Britain, another by the Sabin Vaccine Institute in the US and a third by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) – are currently being tested in Uganda, after first deliveries in December. According to the WHO, the country has received 5,000 doses.
” Victoire “
The East African country has had seven outbreaks of Ebola, five of them with the so-called strain “Sudanese”recalled the Minister of Health, who specified that the origin of the epidemic of September “not yet known”. “I commend Uganda for their robust and comprehensive response which resulted in today’s victoryWHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. Uganda has shown that Ebola can be defeated when the whole system works. »
“Without vaccines and treatments, this was one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks in the past five years, but Uganda stayed the course and continually refined its response” health,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“Two months ago, it was feared that Ebola would cast a dark shadow over the country until 2023, as the epidemic spread to major cities such as Kampala and Jinja, but this victory starts the year on a note of great hope for Africa »she continued.
“Although the outbreak in Uganda has been declared over, health authorities are maintaining surveillance and ready to respond quickly should it resume”however, pointed out the WHO, saying that the “neighboring countries remain on alert”.
Ebola is an often fatal viral hemorrhagic fever. The disease owes its name to a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it was discovered in 1976.
Uganda, an East African country, had already experienced six episodes of Ebola, the last of which was in 2019. Four of them were caused by the so-called Sudanese strain.
Human transmission is through bodily fluids, with the main symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea. Infected people only become contagious after the onset of symptoms, after an incubation period ranging from two to twenty-one days.
The disease has six different strains, three of which (Bundibugyo, Sudan, Zaire) have already caused major epidemics. Epidemics often difficult to contain, especially in urban areas.