Uganda’s Ebola case increases to 16 as outbreak spreads – Nexus News

A total of 16 persons have contracted the highly infectious Ebola virus in Uganda, while a further 18 people also likely had the disease, health officials in the east African country disclosed.

Four people have already been certified dead from the virus, raising fears of a spreading outbreak that involves a strain for which a vaccine has not yet been found.

The outbreak has now extended to three districts, all in central Uganda.

“The Ministry of Health Rapid Response Teams remain on ground to list and follow up contacts to the confirmed cases,” the ministry disclosed on Sunday, imploring increased vigilance.

Authorities first announced an outbreak, ascribed to the relatively rare Ebola Sudan strain, in the central district of Mubende around the beginning of September. The first case was a 24-year-old man who died earlier this week.

Travel ban on non-essential work and a prohibition on large public gatherings have already been enforced in Mubende, said health ministry spokeswoman Emma Ainebyoona.

In 2019, Uganda experienced an outbreak of Ebola Zaire. The virus was transferred from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was experiencing a large epidemic in its northeastern region.

Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever whose symptoms include intense body weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea and rashes among others.

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The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

First identified in 1976 in the DRC – then called Zaire – the virus, whose original host is the bat, has since set off a series of outbreaks in Africa, killing about 15,000 people.

Human transmission is through body fluids, with fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea the main symptoms.

Outbreaks are hard to contain, especially in urban areas.

People who are infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear, which is after an incubation period of between two and 21 days.

Presently, there is no licensed medication to prevent or treat Ebola, although a range of experimental drugs are in development and thousands have been vaccinated in the DRC and some neighboring countries.

The WHO says the Ebola Sudan strain is less transmissible and has revealed a lower death rate in previous epidemics than Ebola Zaire, a strain that killed almost 2,300 people in the 2018-2020 epidemic in the DRC.

The worst epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 killed over 11,300 people.

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