Ebola Outbreak in Uganda Nears End After 55 Deaths
The Uganda Ebola outbreak that killed sickened 142 people appears to be coming to an end. The country’s last confirmed Ebola case was Uganda was discharged from the hospital in early December. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a country must have no cases for 42 consecutive to be considered Ebola-free. Forty-two days is double the maximum incubation period – the amount of time between exposure to the virus and when symptoms first appear- of Ebola. In total the outbreak killed 55 people in less than three months. This outbreak was particularly dangerous because there is currently no proven vaccine for the Sudan strain of Ebola that was circulating. Between 40-60% of people infected with this strain die. The virus spreads when a person comes into contact with bodily fluids of an infected individual or with contaminated materials. Symptoms include weakness and fatigue, fever, aches and pains, gastrointestinal distress, unexplained bleeding or bruising, loss of appetite and sore throat. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Africa CDC’s Acting Director, lauded Uganda’s handling of the outbreak, as it could have been worse without the government’s planning and coordination. African health agencies have invested significant resources to enhance preparedness to deal with such outbreaks. Before this year the last major outbreak on the continent occurred in West Africa from 2014-2016, when 11,300 people died.