The Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organization have declared Uganda free of the Ebola virus disease on January 11 during an event held in Mubende district.
Dr. Ruth Aceng Jane Ocero, Minister of Health, while presiding over the ceremony, declared Uganda free of Ebola following 42 consecutive days with no new cases.
According to Minister Dr. Aceng, Uganda has spent two incubation cycles of 21 days each, making a total of 42 days as of January 10, 2023, since the discharge of the last confirmed case on November 30, 2022.
Aceng said that as a country, there were no new Ebola cases despite sustained intense surveillance both in the epicentre districts and nationally.
“I now confirm that all transmission chains have been fully interrupted, and I take this opportunity to declare that the outbreak is over and Uganda is now free of active Ebola transmission,” Dr. Aceng declared.
She noted that a total of 143 confirmed cases of Ebola were reported, with 22 probable cases, 55 deaths, and 87 recoveries registered in this outbreak.
“Of the 85 (59%) males and 58 (41%) females, by age 26, 18% were children, while 117 (82%) were adults,” she noted.
Aceng urged the population to remain vigilant, implement the standard operating procedures, and report any person in the community that presents with Ebola-like symptoms.
She applauded the government of Uganda for setting up various interventions to contain the outbreak, such as setting up an on-site Ebola testing mobile laboratory in Mubende district, where samples were picked, tested, and results released within 6 hours.
“We constructed 353 bed-capacity treatment units in Mubende, Madudu, Kassanda, Mulago, and Entebbe and equipped them with medical supplies and drugs; trained over 2,339 health workers of different categories from both public and private facilities; and intensified awareness about the EVD through public addresses by the President and Ministers, among others,” Aceng said.
To combat the outbreak, the ministry launched aggressive contact tracing to track down relatives and friends who handled the bodies of victims or attended funerals.
The outbreak started in Mubende district and was confirmed on September 19, 2022. It then spread to Kassanda, Kyegegwa, Kagadi, Bunyangabu, Wakiso, Jinja, Masaka, and Kampala districts.
According to the World Health Organization, an Ebola outbreak is over if there are no new cases after 42 days, which is twice the incubation period.
“Congratulations to the government of Uganda , health workers and communities for your dedication to end the Ebola outbreak in less than 4 months. We thank donors and partners for swiftly mobilizing resources, and vaccine developers for making candidate vaccines available in record time,” said Dr Tedro Adhanom, the WHO Director General
Ebola symptoms include fever, aches and pains, and fatigue, which can progress to diarrhoea, vomiting, and unexplained bleeding.