Uganda’s worst Ebola outbreak is over

Nairobi, Kenya: The World Health Organization has declared the recent Ebola epidemic in Uganda over, closing the chapter on a deadly outbreak that lasted nearly four months and killed dozens of people.

The outbreak had spread to nine districts, including the capital Kampala, raising fears of a snowball in the east African region. It was the worst Ebola outbreak in Uganda in more than two decades and the second-deadliest in the country’s history, with 142 confirmed cases and 55 deaths and a further 22 deaths also linked to the outbreak, according to the WHO. Seven of the fatalities were medical workers.

Doctors in protective gear pray together before visiting a patient who had been in contact with an Ebola victim in Entebbe, Uganda, in October.

Doctors in protective gear pray together before visiting a patient who had been in contact with an Ebola victim in Entebbe, Uganda, in October.Credit:AP

WHO considers an epidemic over when no confirmed or probable cases are reported for 42 days, twice the incubation period for Ebola infections.

Response to the outbreak has been hampered by delays in identifying and tracing the first case, as well as widespread misinformation among the public about the dangers and even the existence of the virus.

Authorities were also initially reluctant to impose a lockdown at the epicenter of the outbreak in central Uganda, fearing any restrictions would hurt the economy and alienate a population already angered by previous strict COVID-19 shutdowns.

The outbreak was caused by the Sudan strain of the virus, for which there is no approved vaccine or therapeutics. dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said the lack of treatment made it difficult to control the virus.

“Two months ago, it looked like Ebola would cast a dark shadow across the country well into 2023,” Moeti said in a statement. “But this win starts the year with great hope for Africa.”

Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever transmitted through physical contact with sick or dead people or animals. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, and headache, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/africa/uganda-s-worst-ebola-outbreak-in-two-decades-is-over-who-20230112-p5cc4m.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Uganda’s worst Ebola outbreak is over

Callan Tansill

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