Uganda has declared the end of a nearly four-month Ebola outbreak it struggled briefly to contain but was then able to swiftly bring under control despite the absence of a proven vaccine against the viral strain in question.
“We have successfully controlled the spread of Ebola in Uganda,” health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said on Wednesday during a ceremony to mark the outbreak’s end.
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The outbreak killed 55 of the 143 people infected since September, according to health ministry figures. Six of the people who died were health workers.
In the early weeks of the outbreak, cases spread beyond the epicentre of Mubende, 150km (90 miles) west of the capital Kampala, to several other districts, including Kampala.
The World Health Organization says a country needs to pass 42 days – twice the maximum incubation period – after the last confirmed case for it to be declared Ebola-free. Wednesday’s declaration followed Uganda’s completion of that timeline.
In December 2022, Uganda discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital and President Yoweri Museveni lifted all Ebola-related movement restrictions.
African health authorities have made a concerted effort to boost their readiness to respond to Ebola after a devastating outbreak of the Zaire strain of the disease in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 that killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.