Africa-Press – Botswana. The latest outbreak of the Sudanese strain of Ebola started on September 20, 2022. The Sudan strain, despite being known as one of the least deadly, has claimed the lives of dozens of people so far.
On October 12, Ministers of Health and government representatives from nine African countries developed a joint response to curb the recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda and its potential spread in the neighboring countries during a high-level emergency ministerial meeting.
The meeting was hosted by the Ugandan government in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda took part in the meeting.
Disease monitoring, contact tracing, prompt information sharing, joint emergency simulation exercises, raising people’s awareness, increasing the number of medical staff at the borders and other joint measures aiming to increase the level of preparedness and prevent the spread of the Sudan strain were mentioned in a communique issued following the meeting.
Uganda’s Minister of Health, Hon Dr. Jane Aceng expressed her hopes that joint efforts will help to halt the spread of the virus. WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti is also hopeful for a positive outcome.
Acting Director General of the Africa CDC, Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma agreed with his colleges. The WHO’s experts say the risk of the spread of Sudanese Ebola strain is high due to cross border migration and travel to and from Uganda.
Despite the first Ebola outbreaks, as well as outbreaks of the Sudanese strain, being first detected in 1970s, there’s still no effective vaccine against the disease.
At least six candidate vaccines against Sudanese Ebola are now under development.
According to the WHO, transmission of the Ebola virus from human to human happens through the exchange of bodily fluids, which can occur not only directly, but through contaminated objects as well. The most common symptoms of Ebola are high fever, diarrhea, abdominal pains, vomiting blood, unexplained hemorrhaging and fatigue.