Uganda declared the end of a nearly four-month Ebola outbreak on Wednesday. The country briefly struggled to contain the virus but was then able to swiftly bring it under control despite the absence of a proven vaccine against the viral strain in question.
“I take this opportunity to declare that the outbreak is over and Uganda is now free of active Ebola transmission,” Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said during a ceremony to mark the outbreak’s end.
Today, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has declared Uganda Ebola Free. She thanked all the partners that have been in this response and the struggle to kick Ebola out of Uganda.
Aceng said this was Uganda’s eighth Ebola outbreak since 2000, the year when the country recorded its first and most deadly outbreak that killed more than half of the 425 people infected.
The latest outbreak killed 55 of the 143 people infected since the month of September, according to health ministry figures. Six of the fatalities were health workers.
Wednesday’s declaration followed Uganda’s completion of 42 days with no active cases, which represents two full incubation periods of the virus.
Most recent outbreak
In the early weeks of the outbreak, cases spread beyond the epicentre of Mubende, 150 km (90 miles) west of the capital Kampala, to several other districts, including Kampala.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Uganda praised Uganda for its response to the virus.
“The global community is learning a lot from this success. This success is not only of Uganda. It’s a global success and the global health community will learn and follow Uganda so that Ebola is not as scary, Ebola is not as devastating as we used to know it,” he said.
The Ebola virus
Ebola spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person and has a fatality rate of about 50 percent.
More than 11,300 people died during the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa. Unlike the more common strain of the virus, Ebola Zaire, which has been the cause of several recent epidemics in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. The strain behind Uganda’s outbreak, Ebola Sudan, has no proven vaccine.