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World Health Organisation declares Ebola outbreak in Uganda

Uganda's Minister of Health Joyce Aceng. [Source: MoH Uganda, Twitter]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared an Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

This follows the death of a 24-year-old man from Ngabano village, Mubende District on Tuesday, September 20.

A statement by the country’s health ministry said that the authorities are probing other six suspicious deaths this month.

“Uganda confirms an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Mubende District, Uganda.   The confirmed case is a 24-year-old male a resident of Ngabano village of Madudu Sub County presented with EVD symptoms and later succumbed,” the Uganda Health Ministry said.

“The clinical team took off samples for testing at UVRI. Results confirmed that the patient was positive for the Ebola-Sudan strain. The Ministry has dispatched a rapid response team to Mubende District to support the teams in surveillance, contact tracing, and case management.”

It isn’t the first time the East African nation is reporting an outbreak of the disease. Ebola has also been reported in West Africa before.

On August 17, 2022, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ministry of Health confirmed a case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Beni district of North Kivu province.

This case was confirmed six weeks after the last outbreak in Equateur province was declared on July 4, 2022.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), that was the third outbreak declared in the North Kivu province since 2018.

Cases of Ebola have been dominant in the West African countries as well as other African countries.

By 2020, Africa CDC said that Uganda, South Sudan and Gabon were the leading countries in the Ebola cases.

Ebola symptoms start to show two to twenty-one (21) days after contact with the virus, with an average of eight to 10 days. 

The course of the illness typically progresses from “dry” symptoms such as fever, aches and pains, and fatigue, and then progresses to “wet” symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting, as the person becomes sicker, CDC says.

Primary signs and symptoms of Ebola often include some or several of the following: Fever, aches and pains such as severe headache, muscle and joint pain, weakness and fatigue, sore throat, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting, unexplained hemorrhaging, bleeding or bruising. Other symptoms may include red eyes, skin rash, and hiccups.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River, in DR Congo. 

Scientists do not know where the virus originated from, but based on similar viruses, they believe Ebola Virus Disease is animal-borne.

The virus first spreads to people through direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of the infected.

It then spreads to other people through direct contact with body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD after getting into the body through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

People can also get the virus through sexual contact with someone who is sick with or has recovered from the disease.