By Linda Ike
The World Health Organization said Health Authorities in Uganda has declared an outbreak of Ebola after a case of the Sudan ebolavirus was confirmed in Mubende district in the central part of the country.
The Organisatíon said the Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed the case on Tuesday after testing a sample taken from a 24-year-old male.
Currentnews.com.ng gathered that this followed an investigation by the National Rapid Response team of six suspicious deaths that have occurred in the district this month.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, in a statement said this is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. It has six different species, three of which (Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire) have previously caused large outbreaks.
Dr. Moeti disclosed that there are currently eight suspected cases who are receiving care in a health facility.
She said,”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,”
“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.”
Dr. Moeti noted that there have been seven previous outbreaks of the Sudan ebolavirus, with four occurring in Uganda and three in Sudan.
She explained that WHO is helping Ugandan health authorities with the investigation as well as deploying staff to the affected area.
“Uganda last reported an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus in 2012. In 2019, the country experienced an outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus.
“The virus was imported from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo which was battling a large epidemic in its north-eastern region”, She said.
“The Organization (WHO) has dispatched supplies to support the care of patients and is sending a tent that will be used to isolate patients”.
She also said that ring vaccination of high-risk people with Ervebo (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine has been highly effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere,
According to her,” this vaccine has only been approved to protect against the Zaire virus. Another vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson may be effective but has yet to be specifically tested against Ebola Sudan”.
Dr. Moeti noted that case fatality rates of the Sudan virus have varied from 41% to 100% in past outbreaks.
She said early initiation of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola.