Origins of Uganda’s Current Ebola Outbreak Still Unknown

Uganda has started the countdown to declare the country Ebola-free in the next 33 days should there be no other positive case for the viral hemorrhagic disease. 

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said three districts of Kagadi, Kyegegwa, and Bunyangabu where the cases were earlier picked have already completed the recommended forty-two days to be declared disease whereas others including Kampala and epicenter districts of Mubende and Kassanda are still being monitored.

She says Thursday marks the 9th day of no case in Kassanda, which recorded the last case that was discharged on November 30th, 2022.

While this is happening, the origins of the current outbreak of the Sudan strain of Ebola virus are still unknown, eighty-three days since the first case was declared on September 20th. Aceng says investigations to determine the origins are still underway and they are not yet clear if the virus was transmitted from one human being to another or if it was an animal-to-human transmission. 

So far, she says scientists have established that Mubende and Kassanda areas have a lot of caves that harbor animals that host the Ebola virus, and that it’s highly likely to be animal to human spread since at the time of the outbreak no country had an outbreak of the Ebola Sudan viral strain.    

Overall, the country confirmed one hundred and forty-two cases of Ebola and fifty-six deaths. Of the deaths, seven were health workers who are believed to have been infected early on before the outbreak was confirmed on September 20th.

Uganda last experienced a big outbreak of Ebola Sudan virus in 2000 when more than fifty percent of the 425 people who got infected died. Later outbreaks of the same variant in 2011 were handled in a timely manner whereby only one person succumbed to the virus. In 2012, outbreaks happened in Western and Central Uganda where seventeen and four people died respectively. Twenty-four cases were recorded in western Uganda and seven cases in Central Uganda.

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