The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that a new outbreak of Ebola has been declared, this time in Uganda.
A spokesman for that UN agency said Tuesday that a sample taken from a 24-year-old man was identified as the relatively rare Sudan strain. It is the first time in more than a decade that the Sudan strain has been found in Uganda, which also saw an outbreak of the Zaire strain of Ebola virus in 2019.
The latest outbreak follows six suspicious deaths in Mubende district so far this month. There are also eight suspected cases receiving care at a health center.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization's regional director for Africa, said the UN agency was working closely with Ugandan authorities to investigate the source, and support efforts to control it.
“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control“, he assured and explained that “thanks to his experience, measures have been taken to quickly detect the virus and we can count on this knowledge to stop the spread of infections.”
There is no effective vaccine
Existing Ebola vaccines have proven effective against the Zairean strain, but it is unclear whether they will be as successful against the Sudanese strain, the World Health Organization said in a statement.
Ebola is a serious and often fatal disease that affects humans and other primates. It has six different strains, three of which – Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire – have previously caused large outbreaks.
Sudan strain case fatality rates have ranged from 41% to 100% in previous outbreaks. Early deployment of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce Ebola deaths, according to the UN agency.
Shipment of supplies
The agency has shipped supplies to support patient care and is sending a specialized tent that will be used to isolate those who are infected.
Although so-called ring vaccination (a strategy to immunize high-risk people first) with the Ervebo (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine has been very effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other In other places, this vaccine has only been approved to protect against the Zaire strain, the WHO warned.
Another vaccine produced by the pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson could be effective, but has not yet been specifically tested against the Sudanese strain.