As reported to WHO on 16 October 2000 by the WHO
Collaborating Centre, the National Institute for Virology (NIV) in South Africa, test
results had confirmed that Ebola virus was cause of the disease outbreak in Uganda. NIV has now
characterized the virus strain as similar to, but not identical to Ebola-Sudan.
Ebola-Sudan was associated with a case-fatality rate of between 50-70% in disease
outbreaks in southern Sudan in 1976 and 1979. The strain appears to be somewhat less
virulent than the Ebola-Zaire strain, which has caused epidemics in the former Zaire, now
Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon with a case-fatality rate of between 70-90%.
Both Ebola strains and the closely-related Marburg virus are found in the central
region of Africa. While this is the first recognized outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever
in Uganda, it is possible that the strain from the present outbreak has been in Uganda for
Infection control and case management in Gulu district are
continuing. A Community Alert System has been established for actively seeking cases
and tracing contacts. Health education messages are also being widely disseminated
and public health awareness about EHF has greatly increased in the community. Mobile teams
of epidemiologists and trained health care workers are investigating all suspected cases
reported to the operations centre in Gulu and are transporting persons who meet the case
definition for the disease to one of the two hospital isolation units. These mobile teams
are also tracing contacts of cases.
Control efforts are progressing well. At present, the
measures taken in the hospital isolation wards make it unlikely that any virus
transmission will occur in this setting. Many of the sick persons and their contacts
in the community have been identified and are receiving appropriate care. However,
new cases are likely to occur in persons who may have been infected but who have not
yet become ill, and who have not yet been identified by public health authorities.
Uganda Ebola Appeal
WHO has launched an appeal for US$ 848,000 to support the
Government of Uganda in containing and controlling the Ebola Outbreak in Gulu district.