Kampala Uganda said on Monday it expects to announce the end of Ebola virus outbreak which emerged at the end of last year and claimed the lives of at least 56 people. If no new case is reported by Tuesday, the health ministry said it would formally declare an end to the outbreak on Wednesday.
An outbreak ends when there are no new cases for 42 consecutive days, twice the incubation period of Ebola, according to the World Health Organization.
Health ministry spokesman Emmanuel Ainebyuna told reporters that an “announcing ceremony” would take place in Mubende, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Since Ugandan authorities announced the latest outbreak in Mubende on September 20, the East African country has seen 142 confirmed cases and 56 deaths. the disease spreads to the capital Kampala.
The last confirmed patient was discharged from the hospital on November 30, health officials said.
The outbreak was caused by a Sudanese strain of the virus, for which there is currently no vaccine.
But three vaccine candidates — one developed by the University of Oxford and the Jenner Institute in the UK, another by the Sabin Vaccine Institute in the US, and a third by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) — are being tested in Uganda.
Ebola is a frequently fatal viral hemorrhagic fever. The disease is named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it was discovered in 1976.
Transmission to humans occurs through bodily fluids, with fever, vomiting, bleeding, and diarrhea being the main symptoms.
Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban areas. Infected people do not become contagious until symptoms appear, that is, after an incubation period of two to 21 days.
Uganda, which shares a porous border with the DRC, has had several Ebola outbreaks, the most recent in 2019, when at least five people died.
The worst epidemic in West Africa alone killed more than 11,300 people between 2013 and 2016. There have been more than a dozen epidemics in the DRC, the deadliest of which killed 2,280 people in 2020.