Africa’s top public health authority said Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in Uganda is under control, as it has been 39 days since the last confirmed case of the virus was reported in the country.
Officials first confirmed the outbreak in September and said it was Sudan’s strain of the disease, for which there is no proven vaccine.
Last month, Uganda discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital, and President Yoweri Museveni lifted all restrictions on movement related to Ebola, reflecting progress made in curbing the spread of the virus.
If no new cases are reported in Uganda by January 10, the outbreak will end, Ahmed Ogwill Oma, the CDC’s acting director for Africa, told a briefing.
He praised the Ugandan government’s excellent coordination of Ebola containment measures, saying it took about 70 days to bring the outbreak under control with 142 confirmed cases and 55 deaths. Uma added that trials of vaccines against the Ebola strain in Sudan are underway.
African health authorities have made a concerted effort to bolster their preparedness to respond to Ebola following the 2014-2016 outbreak of Zairean disease in West Africa that killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Ebola causes vomiting, bleeding, and diarrhea and spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of infected people. The virus can sometimes remain in the eyes, central nervous system, and bodily fluids of survivors and then worsen years later.
The World Health Organization says a country needs 42 days – double the maximum incubation period – after the last confirmed case to be declared Ebola-free.
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