Ebola outbreak declared in Uganda after ‘rare’ strain is found

Uganda has declared Ebola outbreak after the “rare” Sudan strain was confirmed in a 24-year-old man, health authorities say.

The case was discovered in the Mubende neighborhood and comes after six suspicious deaths in the same area.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says an additional eight suspected cases are currently being treated at a health center.

The Ebola virus under a microscope.
The Ebola virus under a microscope. (Boston University)

“This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda has registered an outbreak of the Sudanese Ebola virus,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement.

“We are working closely with national health authorities to investigate the source of this outbreak while supporting efforts to rapidly roll out effective control measures.

“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control. Thanks to his expertise, action has been taken to quickly detect the virus and we can count on this knowledge to stop the spread of infection.”

Uganda has declared an Ebola outbreak after a case of the Sudanese Ebola virus was confirmed in a man.
Uganda has declared an Ebola outbreak after a case of the Sudanese Ebola virus was confirmed in a man. (WHO)

The WHO said it is sending staff to the affected area and has sent healthcare supplies and a tent to isolate patients.

Ebola is a serious, often fatal virus that causes severe bleeding and organ failure. It affects humans and other primates.

There are six different types of the virus.

Three of them – Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire – are responsible for major outbreaks in the past.

Health workers wearing protective suits tend to treat an Ebola victim in an isolation tent in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
The WHO said it is sending an isolation tent to the affected area, along with medical supplies and personnel. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File) (AP)

“The death rates from the Sudan virus have ranged from 41 to 100 percent in previous outbreaks,” the WHO said.

“There have been seven previous outbreaks of the Sudanese Ebola virus, four in Uganda and three in Sudan.

Uganda last reported an outbreak of the Sudanese Ebola virus in 2012.

“Initiating supportive treatment early has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola.”

The subvariants and mutations of COVID-19

In the past, the Ervebo vaccine has been used to ring-vaccinate people at high risk in other African countries to help control the spread of Ebola.

However, the WHO notes that the drug is only approved for the Zaire virus.

“Another vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson may be effective, but has yet to be tested specifically against Ebola Sudan,” it says.

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