As Ebola spreads in Uganda, WHO urges its neighbors to prepare
WHO has reported that over 150 confirmed and probable cases, including 64 fatalities, have been reported in Uganda since the outbreak of Ebola was first declared.
The World Health Organization issued a warning on Wednesday, urging neighboring nations to step up their preparedness as the arrival of Ebola in the capital of Uganda highlighted the high risk of further spread of the lethal virus.
WHO reported that over 150 confirmed and probable cases, including 64 fatalities, have been reported in Uganda since the outbreak was first declared on September 20 by the country's Health Ministry. According to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 17 cases have been confirmed in Kampala since the deadly disease arrived there last week.
"Although these cases are linked to known clusters, the very fact that there are cases in a densely populated city underscores the very real risk of further transmission," he said, speaking from WHO headquarters in Geneva.
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There is a "very urgent need for increased readiness in districts and surrounding countries," he warned.
Ebola spreads through bodily fluids and is fought using tried-and-true methods of tracking, containing, and quarantining. Common symptoms include fever, vomiting, bleeding, and diarrhea. Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban environments.
"Ebola in a complex, urban city like Kampala is not easy, and we have to do everything possible to pull every chain of transmission," the WHO's incident manager Abdi Mahamud told reporters.
Tedros reported that in addition to the $5 million already released to address the crisis in Uganda, the UN health agency had on Tuesday released an additional $5.7 million from its contingency fund for emergencies.
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He stated that WHO was closely collaborating with the government of Uganda and its allies to address the outbreak and was urging "a strengthened global response and increased donor investment."
Uganda's last recorded fatality from a previous Ebola outbreak was in 2019.
The Sudan Ebola virus is the specific strain that is currently present in Uganda; there is currently no vaccine against it, though several candidate vaccines are in clinical trials.