Concern is growing about another Ebola epidemic in East Africa, in Uganda. Dozens of people are believed to have contracted the virus within a few days, 23 of whom have died, according to the Ministry of Health, as doctors fear the virus will spread to other areas.
The disease was first detected on September 20 in Mubindi, central Uganda, where a young man died of the infection. Since then, there has been a race against time, with authorities searching extensively for those who have been in contact with the infected to prevent further spread of the highly contagious virus.
Possible cause: bats
The situation is becoming more difficult because the exact chains of infection and the source of the current Ebola outbreak remain unclear. “So far we have had some epidemics where we haven’t been able to find the relationship between the initial case and where people were infected,” Doctor Innocent Nkono told DW.
Despite the unknown about the start of the outbreak, Konwa has doubts: “One of the biggest challenges in our environment is that we live with bats every day,” says a doctor who treated Ebola patients in Luweero district in eastern Uganda. years ago. Animals love to nest in homes, and even then there was evidence that the virus had passed from bats to humans.
Uganda is well prepared. Emergency medical teams are responding quickly to the Ebola outbreak in Mubindi.
Uganda is well prepared
The worst Ebola epidemic to date occurred in West Africa between 2014 and 2016. In that time, more than 11,300 people died from the virus. Since the disease first appeared in 1976, there have also been many small outbreaks in the forests of East and Central Africa, which were quickly contained. But Dr. Diana Atween, who works for the Ministry of Health, sees the danger of the current wave of infection spreading into a pandemic. “Our teams are on site, working with crisis response teams in the area to explore the potential source of the Ebola virus, and we are isolating all contacts,” Atwin told DW.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ugandan health authorities are relatively well-armed against the Ebola outbreak. The country has a laboratory to detect the virus, a surveillance program and trained professionals. With the support of WHO specialists, teams of doctors and nurses traveled to the affected area to isolate the infected as quickly as possible, inform the population of simple protective measures and start treating the sick.
The return of the Sudan virus after ten years
The World Health Organization reports that this is the first time in more than a decade that the Sudanese Ebola strain has been detected in Uganda. Health experts say that although there is no vaccine yet against the rare virus, early detection of cases and treatment of symptoms greatly increases the chances of survival.
Previous outbreaks in Uganda and the risk of importing cases from neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo prompted WHO and the Ministry of Health to work together on several preparedness activities: The last such exercise was in August 2022, according to the WHO, with nine Ugandan doctors trained in hospitals. On the treatment of viral hemorrhagic fevers, they can now perform operations.
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