Ebola, the epidemic ends in Uganda: the lethality rate was 47%


Ebola, the epidemic ends in Uganda: the lethality rate was 47%
Written by aquitodovale

Of Laura Cuppini

Less than four months ago the first case, while the last patient was discharged on November 30th. There are no therapies against the Sudan strain

The Ebola epidemic in Uganda ended, less than four months after the first case: a 24-year-old man infected in the Mubende district and died in September. The budget of 164 infections (142 confirmed and 22 probable), 55 dead and 87 healed. Seven of the deceased were healthcare workers. The lethality rate is very high of Ebola, i.e. the ratio between deaths and infections: in this epidemic it was 47%. The last patient was discharged on November 30th and the countdown of 42 days (double the incubation period of the infection) has started for the declaration of the official end of the epidemic. Uganda has been affected by several Ebola outbreaks in the past: the worst was that of 2000, which resulted in 224 casualties. The one just concluded is the second deadliest in the history of the country.

Boost your efforts

We quickly put an end to the epidemic by stepping up key measures such as surveillance, tracking, prevention and control – said the Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng Acero -. We have stepped up efforts to implement a strong response in the nine affected districts (including the capital Kampala, ed), but the “magic wand” has been our communities, which have understood the importance of doing what is necessary to defeat the epidemic. Uganda now free from active transmission of Ebola, but we remain vigilant. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusdirector general of the World Health Organization (WHO) congratulated the country for the solid and complete answer that led to today’s victory. You have shown that Ebola can be defeated when the whole system works together – he added -. The lessons learned and the systems put in place against this epidemic will protect Ugandans and other populations for years to come.

There are no therapies or vaccines

The epidemic that hit Uganda was caused by the Sudan ebola virus (strain ‘Sudan’, Sudv). Against this virus there are currently no vaccines or authorized therapies. WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said: It was one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks in recent years, but Uganda stayed the course and continuously refined its response. Since the beginning of the epidemic they have been identified three vaccine candidates and over 5,000 doses were sent to Uganda in December, by which time the infections had ended. Although vaccine candidates have not been used during this outbreak, the next time Sudan ebolavirus strikes we can reactivate the strong cooperation between developers, donors and health authorities, said Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO representative in Uganda.

A note of hope

How writes the New York Times
the response to the outbreak has been hampered by delays in identifying and tracing the first case, as well as widespread misinformation among the population about the dangers and even existence of the virus. Furthermore, the authorities were initially hesitant to impose a lockdown, fearing that any restrictions would have a negative impact on the economy already strained by the Covid pandemic. Only in mid-October did Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni impose a night curfew and block travel to and from Mubende and Kassanda, the two districts identified as the epicenter of the epidemic. Two months ago, it seemed that Ebola would cast a dark shadow over the country until 2023 – said Matshidiso Moeti -. But this victory opens the year on a note of great hope for Africa.

Internal and external bleeding

Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever that is transmitted through contact with sick or dead people or animals. Symptoms include fever, fatigue and headache, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The virus kills half of the people it infects. The worst recent outbreak spread across West Africa between 2014 and 2016, followed by another in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018. Although there are vaccines against Ebola, such as Ervebo (which has been key to ending to the epidemic in the Congo), these do not protect against the Sudan strain.

January 12, 2023 (change January 12, 2023 | 2:26 pm)

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