Infectious Disease

Uganda declares end of Ebola outbreak that killed 55

January 11, 2023

2 min read

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Moeti and Tedros report no relevant financial disclosures.

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Health officials on Wednesday declared an end to an Ebola outbreak in Uganda that killed 55 people and infected at least 142 in less than 4 months.

The outbreak, which began in the country’s Mubende district on Sept. 20, was the first outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus reported in Uganda in over a decade. It was contained despite there being no licensed vaccine against this species of Ebola virus.

IDN0123Ebola_Uganda_Graphic_01_WEB

WHO.

According to WHO, the outbreak included a total of 164 cases — 142 confirmed and 22 probable — and 55 confirmed deaths, some of the earliest occurring among health care workers.

“I congratulate Uganda for its robust and comprehensive response which has resulted in today’s victory over Ebola,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, MSc, said in a press release. “Uganda has shown that Ebola can be defeated when the whole system works together, from having an alert system in place, to finding and caring for people affected and their contacts, to gaining the full participation of affected communities in the response.”

More than 4,000 people came into contact with a confirmed case and were monitored for 21 days, WHO said.

The end of the outbreak was declared 42 days — the length of two incubation periods — after the last patient was released from care on Nov. 30.

Throughout, health officials raised concerned about the lack of a proven vaccine against Sudan ebolavirus. Targeted vaccination efforts have helped end multiple outbreaks of a more common species, Zaire ebolavirus, in the past several years, including one in Uganda.

Three candidate vaccines against the Sudan strain were identified during the latest Uganda outbreak and more than 5,000 doses arrived in the country in December. The vaccines went unused but will be available should another Sudan ebolavirus outbreak be declared, according to WHO.

“With no vaccines and therapeutics, this was one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks in the past 5 years, but Uganda stayed the course and continuously fine-tuned its response,” Matshidiso Moeti, MD, MPH, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, said in the release. “Two months ago, it looked as if Ebola would cast a dark shadow over the country well into 2023, as the outbreak reached major cities such as Kampala and Jinja, but this win starts off the year on a note of great hope for Africa. ”

WHO and local health officials will continue monitoring the area for flare-ups.

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