Uganda confirms 6 new Ebola cases

Uganda’s health ministry has confirmed six new Ebola cases after officials confirmed an outbreak in the country earlier in the week.

The new cases were reported in the central district of Mubende, where a 24-year-old man was confirmed dead on Tuesday after showing symptoms of the disease.

The authorities are also investigating whether seven other deaths, including that of a one-year-old girl, were due to Ebola.

Of the six new cases, one was reported from a neighbouring district. This is the third outbreak of the Ebola Sudan strain in Uganda.

Over 40 people who contacted a family that reported some of the cases have been traced. Eleven of them are under isolation, said Kyobe Henry Bbosa, the incident management commander from the health ministry.

Neighbouring countries said they were on high alert in case the disease spread across the borders.

Experts say that the Ebola Sudan strain historically has lower levels of transmission, infections and deaths compared to the Ebola Zaire strain.Ugandan authorities continue to assure the public and international community that they have the capacity to contain the epidemic.

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 broke out in the country.

This follows a Tuesday announcement by the country’s ministry of health that the Ebola virus had broken out and has so far left one confirmed case dead and six other unverified deaths. 

Bayo Fatunmbi, Head of Disease Prevention and Control at the World Health Organisation office in Uganda, told reporters here that the Sudan strain is rare and had only occurred in Sudan in 1976 and in Uganda in 2011. 

“We have done something before in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but we find that the vaccination that worked with the Zaire virus (strain) will not be useful for this particular Sudan strain,” he said. 

Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, said while the country has the vaccine for the Zaire strain, there is no vaccine for the Sudan strain. –BBC/Xinhua

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