Ebola outbreak declared in Uganda

mubende district uganda

Health authorities in Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola on September 20, 2022, after a case of the Sudan virus disease (SUDV) was confirmed in the Mubende district in the central part of the country. This is the first Ebola disease outbreak caused by the Sudan virus in Uganda since 2012. A National Task Force is meeting every day.

The case was a 24-year-old male who developed a wide range of symptoms on September 11, including high-grade fever, tonic convulsions, blood-stained vomit and diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain while swallowing, chest pain, dry cough and bleeding in the eyes, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.1

The man visited two private clinics between September 11 – 15 without improvement.

He was then referred to the Regional Referral Hospital (RRH) on September 15 where he was isolated as a suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever. A blood sample was collected on September 17 and sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Kampala where RT- PCR tests conducted were positive for SUDV on September 19. On the same day, the patient died.

Results of preliminary investigations identified a number of community deaths from an unknown illness in Madudu and Kiruma sub-counties of Mubende district reported in the first two weeks of September. These deaths are now considered to be probable cases of Ebola caused by SUDV.

As of September 25, the Minister of Health reports 36 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case patients in Mubende and Kyegegwa districts (18 confirmed, 18 suspected) and 23 cumulative deaths (4 confirmed, 19 probable).2

A total of 399 contact cases have been identified and 104 are under follow-up.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is setting up an Ebola Treatment center and WHO deployed medical supplies, providing logistics and deploying staff to support the Ugandan authorities in halting the spread of the virus. 

DG ECHO’s health partners are actively responding to the situation, in particular by strengthening measures in refugee settlements, including setting up an isolation unit.

Sudan virus disease is severe, often fatal illness affecting humans, first reported in southern Sudan in June 1976.1

Since then the virus has emerged periodically and up to now, seven outbreaks caused by SUDV have been reported, four in Uganda and three in Sudan. The estimated case fatality ratios of SVD have varied from 41% to 100% in past outbreaks.

The virus is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

It then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with either blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from SVD or objects that have been contaminated with body fluids (like blood, faeces, vomit) from a person sick with SVD or the body of a person who died from SVD.

References:

1 Ebola Disease caused by Sudan virus – WHO – September 26, 2022

2 Uganda – Ebola outbreak – DG ECHO – September 26,2022

Featured image credit: Google, The Watchers

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