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Health Workers Among Dead in Uganda Ebola Outbreak

Health Workers Among Dead in Uganda Ebola Outbreak
folder_openAfrica... access_time2 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Twenty-nine people, including four health workers, have died since the Ebola outbreak was declared in Mubende, central Uganda, on 20 September, the World Health Organization [WHO] confirmed on Wednesday.

Among them was Mohammed Ali, a 37-year-old Tanzanian doctor who was working at Mubende hospital and had operated on a patient who later tested positive for the virus. Six more health workers have been infected, bringing the total number of reported cases to 63 across five sub-counties.

Vaccines used to successfully curb recent Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] are not effective against the Sudan virus. The WHO said several vaccines were in various stages of development, two of which could begin clinical trials in Uganda in the coming weeks.

Health workers have also said they are concerned the disease could spread to refugee camps. Mubende, about three hours’ drive from the capital, Kampala, lies along a highway to DRC. Along this route are several refugee settlements, housing at least 200,000 of Uganda’s 1.5 million refugees.

The WHO has given $2m from its emergency fund and is sending “additional specialists, supplies, and resources” to help Uganda’s Ministry of Health contain the virus, which is spread through contact with blood and body fluids. MSF has established a treatment unit in Mubende hospital and plans to open another in nearby Madudu sub-county, the center of the outbreak.

The health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, called this week for more international support. “The efforts made so far are important but need to be intensified if we are to end this epidemic today,” she said. “I count on all of you to mobilize more resources in your respective capacities to end the Ebola pandemic in our country.”

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the African Union, said Uganda would host a ministerial meeting next week with neighboring states and other African countries that had experienced Ebola outbreaks to explore ways of managing them.

This is the first outbreak of the Sudan strain of Ebola in Uganda since 2012. The country is still battling the after-effects of the Covid pandemic, which saw schools close for nearly two years.