Uganda declared an end to its Ebola outbreak on Wednesday, after completing a 42-day waiting period in which no new cases emerged. The announcement came less than four months after the first case was identified in September.
“Uganda put a swift end to the Ebola outbreak by ramping up key control measures such as surveillance, contact tracing and infection, prevention and control,” said Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda’s Minister of Health. “The magic bullet has been our communities who understood the importance of doing what was needed to end the outbreak, and took action.”
In the communities of Mubende and Kasanda, where the Sudan strain involved in this Ebola outbreak first appeared, that meant weeks of lockdown to limit the spread. The outbreak was the first of its kind in a decade, and led to 162 total cases with 55 confirmed fatalities. Among other things, it presented challenges because existing Ebola vaccines were not manufactured to work for the Sudan strain.
The last patient was released from care on November 30, authorities said.
“Uganda has shown that Ebola can be defeated when the whole system works together, from having an alert system in place, to finding and caring for people affected and their contacts, to gaining the full participation of affected communities in the response,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization.
Image: Uganda Red Cross Society file