Monday, 24 June, 2024
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Uganda announces first death in latest Ebola outbreak

Uganda has announced its first fatality from the highly contagious Ebola virus since 2019, after a 24-year-old man died, declaring an outbreak in the central district of Mubende.

In a statement released last week, the World Health Organisation said the patient had tested positive for “the relatively rare Sudan strain” of the virus, hard on the heels of an investigation by the National Rapid Response team of six suspicious deaths in the district this month.

Eight other suspected sufferers are reportedly undergoing treatment, reports RFI.

WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said: “This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda has recorded the Ebola Sudan strain.”

Recent history of ‘Sudan strain’

The WHO says there have been seven previous outbreaks of the Sudan strain of Ebola, including four in Uganda and three in Sudan.

Uganda, which shares a border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, has had several Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2019, when at least five people died.

Meanwhile, the DRC recorded a new case in the east of the country last month, less than six weeks after an epidemic in the northwest region was declared over.

There is currently no licensed medication to prevent or treat Ebola, although a range of experimental drugs is in development and thousands have been vaccinated in the DRC and some neighbouring countries.

Uganda’s Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, said they have begun vaccinating frontline workers – including customs officials – at the DRC border.

Highly contagious, often fatal

Ebola, which is an often fatal, viral haemorrhagic fever with a typically high mortality rate, reaching 90% in some outbreaks, was first identified in 1976 in the DRC – then Zaire. The virus, whose natural host is the bat, has since set off a series of epidemics in Africa that have killed around 15 000 people.

People who are infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear, which is after an incubation period of between two and 21 days. The worst epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 killed more than 11 300 alone.

 

RFI article – Uganda announces first death in latest outbreak of Ebola (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Uganda starts preventative Ebola vaccine trial

 

Optimism that the DRC is winning battle against Ebola

 

WHO wants more funds to fight DRC Ebola epidemic

 

Ebola outbreak spreads to Uganda

 

WHO and Unicef evacuate staff from Ebola area over safety concerns

 

 

 

 

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