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Uganda declares Ebola outbreak

September 20, 2022

Uganda has confirmed its first death from Ebola virus since 2019, declaring an outbreak in the central Mubende district. The WHO has said six other deaths in the area being investigated.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles.
Ebola is an often deadly viral haemorrhagic feverImage: IMAGE POINT FR/NIH/NIAID/BSIP/picture alliance

Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease, after one person died of the highly contagious virus, the country's health ministry said Tuesday. 

Health authorities reported that a man in the central Mubende district, who died on Monday, had tested positive for the virus.

"The confirmed case is a 24-year-old male [...] who presented with EVD symptoms and later succumbed," the health ministry said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, using an abbreviation for the disease.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Africa office said in a statement that the case was of the relatively rare Sudan strain.

"This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording the Ebola Sudan strain," WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said.

The case was confirmed after six suspicious deaths that have occurred in the district this month were investigated by the National Rapid Response team, the WHO said.

"There are currently eight suspected cases who are receiving care in a health facility," it added.

The global health body said that it was helping Uganda's health authorities with their probe and deploying staff to the affected area.

A man in a hazmat suit
Ebola is easily spread on surfaces — this 2021 image of an outbreak in the Ivory Coast shows health workers disinfecting a hospitalImage: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

What is Ebola?

Ebola is an often deadly viral haemorrhagic fever.  The virus was first identified in Central Africa in 1976.

It spreads by contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or contaminated materials. Symptoms of the disease include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

Uganda has witnessed multiple outbreaks of the Ebola virus with the most recent one in 2019 that left at least five people dead.

The country also shares a porous border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which recorded a new Ebola case last month less than six weeks after an epidemic in its northwest was declared over.

dvv/wmr (AFP, AP, Reuters)