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Uganda Races to Contain a Deadly Ebola Outbreak

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Nairobi, Kenya — The Ebola outbreak in Uganda, caused by a strain for which there is no approved vaccine or drug treatment, is fueling fear across East Africa. fatalities (number.

Scientists and health officials are now pushing to start clinical trials of two experimental vaccines to protect against this strain that emerged in Sudan in 1976. There are relatively new and powerful Ebola vaccines, but they do not protect against the Sudanese strain. To eradicate the disease quickly before it overwhelms the country’s fragile health system.

At least six health workers have contracted the virus in central Uganda, where cases have been reported, and some have requested to be transferred elsewhere. Parents are pulling their children out of school out of fear they will contract the highly contagious virus. And in a country facing multiple Ebola outbreaks since the first case was reported in 2000, another fast-spreading virus has triggered restrictions and an economy still reeling from the coronavirus shutdown. There is a deep-rooted fear that it will be destroyed.

Jonas Tegen Woldemariam, Uganda’s representative to the World Health Organization, said in a telephone interview, “The whole situation gives me a lot of worries.

“We’re at a disadvantage,” he said, as the virus spread to District 4 on Friday, affecting areas more than a 75-mile radius.

Ebola is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through contact with sick or dead people or animals and causes fever, fatigue, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The 2014-16 outbreak in West Africa was the deadliest Ebola epidemic. Killed over 11,300followed by an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018, killing 2,280 people.

So far, Ugandan officials have ruled out issuing curfews or curfews or restricting movement in schools, markets and places of worship.

“No need for fear, panic, restrictions on movement or unnecessary closure of public places” President Yoweri Museveni Said later TV speech this week. Museveni, who introduced strict lockdowns when the coronavirus pandemic began two years ago, said his country had the ability to bring the Ebola virus under control.

Uganda also cooperates with neighboring countries, including Rwanda. Kenyaheighten security at borders and airports.

The latest outbreak in Uganda was made public on September 20, when health officials announced they had confirmed a case in a 24-year-old man who had been admitted to a hospital in Mubende district, about 90 miles from the capital, Kampala.

The patient developed symptoms such as a high fever and bleeding eyes on September 11, and had visited multiple clinics seeking help. He was eventually placed in isolation on September 15 and hospitalized, but died five days later.

In a televised speech, Museveni said the patient said people with similar symptoms had died in his village.

delay of Identification and follow-up of the first human case, together with the fact that it was reported in a district adjacent to a major highway, raises concerns that the virus is spreading to major cities and neighboring countries. WHO is Said There have been at least 18 probable deaths and 19 infections associated with the current outbreak.

Sudan strain of virus last detected Infected people cannot spread the virus until they develop symptoms, which can appear after an incubation period of 2 to 21 days.

Existing vaccines, such as Ervebo, an injectable vaccine that has proven successful against the Zaire strain in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, do not protect against the Sudanese strain.

But experts hope that will change soon.

Mr. Jonas at least 6 vaccine candidates It was in various stages of development that could possibly prevent the Sudanese strain. There is a possibility.

Two vaccines likely to go ahead are being developed by the Washington-based Sabin Vaccine Institute and the University of Oxford. High. As new evidence emerges about the remaining vaccine candidates, the WHO said it would work with an independent group of experts to help assess their suitability.

For now, health authorities and multiple non-governmental organizations are responding to the crisis by training health workers, setting up new isolation units and increasing laboratories for testing.

More than 400 people have been in contact with an infected person successful in tracking2 patients also hospital discharge Friday night, according to WHO

Officials have also launched multiple outreach campaigns to educate the public on how to protect themselves rather than stigmatizing infected people and reporting those who are showing symptoms, he said in response to the outbreak. said Olma Jacob, a health advisor for Medical Team International, a support group that

He said this was done because “there was fear and a lot of panic in the community” when the cases were first reported in central Uganda.

That panic was evident among parents in Mubende district, where the first case was detected.

Nkwesiga Maxim, principal of St. Quizito Madudu Roman Catholic Primary School in Mubende, said more than half of the school’s students were not attending classes.

“We have too much fear,” he said.

His sentiments have been echoed by frontline health workers who say lack of adequate compensation and protection – Especially for medical interns — were putting their lives in danger. Museveni said his six infected health care workers included four doctors, an anesthesiologist and a medical student.On Saturday, Uganda’s health minister announced one of the doctors died.

Ruswata Herbert, secretary general of the Uganda Medical Association, said if the government did not remedy the situation quickly, “health workers would refuse to see patients out of fear for their lives and rights.” rice field.

Musinge Blanche Contributed reporting from Kampala, Uganda.

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