Cases of Rare Ebola Virus Strain confirmed in Uganda.

Ebola is one of the deadliest viral diseases. It was first discovered in 1976 with two consecutive outbreaks in different parts of Central Africa. The first outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, which gave the virus its name. The second outbreak occurred in what is now South Sudan, approximately 500 miles away. However, the two outbreaks were caused by two genetically distinct viruses: Zaire ebolavirus and Sudan ebolavirus. Compared to what public health officials initially assumed. After this discovery, scientists concluded that the virus came from two different sources and spread independently to people in each of the affected areas.

The World Health Organization yesterday reported Six new cases of Ebola discovered in Uganda after the country reported its first fatality from the highly contagious virus since 2019. This comes two days after the Uganda’s health ministry declared an Ebola outbreak in the central district of Mubende on Tuesday. According to WHO, seven cases, including one death, have been confirmed to have contracted the Sudan ebolavirus, a relatively rare strain of the virus. Forty-three contacts have been identified and 10 people suspected to have caught the virus are receiving treatment at the regional referral hospital in Mubende.

Ebola is an often fatal and Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban environments. Health experts on Tuesday urged Uganda to focus on preventing and controlling the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, noting that there is no vaccine against the rare Sudan strain that has been confirmed in the country. Stating the Sudan strain is rare and had only occurred in Sudan in 1976 and in Uganda in 2011. Thus, the vaccination that worked with the Zaire virus [strain] will not be useful for this particular strain. However, another type of vaccine is currently being tested.

Uganda shares a border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who have experienced several Ebola outbreaks in the past. At the present there is no licensed medication to prevent or treat Ebola, although a range of experimental drugs are in development and thousands have been vaccinated in the DRC and some neighbouring countries. The worst epidemic in West Africa was between 2013 and 2016 that killed more than 11,300 alone. The DRC has had more than a dozen epidemics, the deadliest killing 2,280 people in 2020.    

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