UGANDA – The Republic of Uganda has initiated public health interventions in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) to control further spread of the contagious Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) amid outbreak in the region.

According to WHO, the national health authorities in Uganda have declared an outbreak of Ebola after a case of the relatively rare Sudan strain was confirmed in Mubende District in the central part of the country.

The country declared an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Mubende District following an investigation by the National Rapid Response team of six suspicious deaths that have occurred in the district this month.

Uganda, through the Ministry of Health, sent laboratory samples taken from a 24-year-old male to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for confirmation as per standard procedure while there are currently eight suspected cases who are receiving care in a health facility.

This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording the Ebola Sudan strain. 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, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti highlighted that Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control while lauding the country’s expertise and action taken to quickly detect the virus since African countries can bank on the knowledge to halt the spread of infections.

In addition, WHO is helping Ugandan health authorities with the investigation and deploying staff to the affected area for instance the Organization has dispatched supplies to support the care of patients and is sending a tent that will be used to isolate patients.

WHO explained that while ring vaccination of high-risk people with Ervebo vaccine has been highly effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere, the vaccine has only been approved to protect against the Zaire strain.

The agency further disclosed that another vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson may be effective but has yet to be specifically tested against the Sudan strain while confirming that case fatality rates of the Sudan strain have varied from 41% to 100% in past outbreaks.

The agency notes that Ebola has six different strains and three of the strains namely Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire have previously caused large outbreaks, adding that early initiation of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola.

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