Uganda has declared an Ebola outbreak after health authorities confirmed a case of the relatively rare Sudanese strain, the health ministry and the World Health Organization (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," Diana Atwine, the health ministry's permanent secretary, told a news conference. She said the patient with the confirmed case had a high fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and was vomiting blood.
He was initially treated for malaria. There are currently eight suspected cases being treated at the health facility, the WHO Office for Africa said in a statement, adding that it was assisting Ugandan health authorities in their investigation and deployment of staff to the affected area.
The WHO said there had been seven previous Ebola outbreaks in Sudan, four in Uganda, and three in Sudan.
Vaccinating high-risk people with the Ervebo vaccine has been very effective
“This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus.
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,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
“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”. Uganda is said to have last reported an Ebola outbreak in Sudan in 2012 and an outbreak of the Zaire strain of Ebola in 2019.
"There are currently eight suspected cases who are receiving care in a health facility," WHO Africa said, adding that it is helping Uganda's health authorities with the investigation and deploying staff to the affected area.
The WHO has said that vaccinating high-risk people with the Ervebo vaccine has been very effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, but that the vaccine is only approved to protect against the Zaire strain.