An Ebola outbreak has been declared in Uganda after health authorities confirmed a case of the relatively rare Sudanese strain, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.
A 24-year-old man in Uganda’s central Mubende district showed symptoms and later died.
“We want to inform the country that we have an Ebola outbreak that we confirmed yesterday,” Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, told a news conference.
She said the patient with the confirmed case had a high fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain, and was vomiting blood. He was initially treated for malaria.
There are currently eight suspected cases receiving care at a health center, the WHO’s Africa office said in a statement, adding that it helped Uganda’s health authorities investigate and deploy personnel to the affected area.
“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control. Thanks to his expertise, action has been taken to quickly detect the virus and we can count on this knowledge to stop the spread of infection,” said Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the WHO Africa.
The WHO said there had been seven previous outbreaks of the Ebola Sudan strain, four in Uganda and three in Sudan.
It said Uganda last reported an outbreak of the Ebola Sudan strain in 2012 and an outbreak of the Ebola Zaire strain in 2019.
The WHO said that ring vaccination of high-risk people with the Ervebo vaccine had been very effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere, but that this vaccine was only approved to protect against the Zaire tribe.
Another vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson may be effective but has yet to be tested specifically against the Sudan strain, it added.