Zfor two years the schools are in Uganda been closed due to the corona pandemic. Now the emergence of the Ebola virus has again led to empty classrooms in some places. Although the government has not closed any schools, according to local media reports, many parents in the affected regions do not send their children to class for safety reasons.
Last week, an Ebola case was discovered in Uganda for the first time in ten years. A 24-year-old man in Mubende district, 140 kilometers west of the capital Kampala, was taken to hospital with a high fever and other serious symptoms. Four days later, the Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed the suspicion of an Ebola infection, and the man died on the same day. In their further investigations, the authorities encountered numerous reports of strange illnesses and sudden illnesses deaths previously in the area. Six people had died within two weeks in early September. They were buried in traditional ceremonies with many guests. The virus has now spread to two neighboring districts. More than 40 infections have been confirmed and 24 people have died.
Testing, protective clothing and reconnaissance
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni ruled out exit restrictions and further restrictions in the affected areas in a television speech on Wednesday evening. Ebola is easier to keep under control because the virus does not spread through the air but is transmitted through bodily fluids. “The government has the ability to bring this outbreak under control as we have done before. Therefore, there is no reason for fear, panic, restrictions on movement or the closure of public places,” said the President.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC) of the African Union also agreed with this view. The Ugandan government is responding “effectively” and has the situation under control, said interim chief Ahmed Ogwell Ouma. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa-CDC supported Uganda with tests, protective clothing and education of the population. The situation in neighboring countries is also being monitored.
The virus, which emerged in Uganda, belongs to the rarer Sudan strain, first identified in southern Sudan in 1976. Since then, this type of virus has reappeared at regular intervals. To date, seven outbreaks have been reported, four in Uganda and three in Sudan. The serious Ebola epidemics in Congo and West Africa, which killed thousands, were then triggered by another type called Zaire. Now there is a problem. Because so far there is no vaccine against the Sudan type, and even rapid tests cannot detect it.
After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the pharmaceutical company Merck developed the Ebola vaccine Ervebo together with the Canadian health authorities. Later, a second, extremely effective vaccine from Johnson & Johnson was added. As the WHO announced, according to current knowledge, the Ervebo vaccine does not offer any so-called protection against the Sudan virus. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given in two doses 56 days apart. The first dose protects against Zaire virus, the second dose is designed to protect against other species. However, this has not been proven, writes the WHO. Even if the vaccine were effective, it would only provide protection a few days after the second dose was given. According to the Africa-CDC, the efficacy of a vaccine is currently being tested at an advanced stage of development.