Authorities in Uganda declared an Ebola outbreak Tuesday of the “Sudan” strain after six mysterious deaths in a central district and lab tests confirmed a case in a 24-year-old male, the World Health Organization said.
Uganda experienced an outbreak of a different type, the Zaire Ebola virus, in 2019 after cases slipped in from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s large outbreak. The country last reported an outbreak of the Sudan type of Ebola in 2012.
“This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus. We are working closely with the national health authorities to investigate the source of this outbreak while supporting the efforts to quickly roll out effective control measures,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. “Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control.”
Anywhere from 41% to 100% of patients have died in previous outbreaks of the Sudan Ebola virus, though early treatment can significantly reduce deaths.
WHO said it is deploying staff to Uganda to trace the virus and respond to it. There is a vaccine to protect against Ebola, but it is only approved to guard against the Zaire strain.
Another vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, may be protective but hasn’t been tested against the Sudan strain, according to WHO.