Uganda’s latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus appears to be over, the World Health Organisation said Monday, pointing out that no new cases had been confirmed for the past month.
“There have been no new confirmed cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever reported in Kibaale district, Uganda, since August 3, 2012, indicating that the outbreak is coming to an end,” the WHO said in a statement.
The organisation said there had been a total of 24 probable and confirmed cases, while 17 people had died from the virus since the beginning of the outbreak — one more than previously reported.
Ugandan health officials said in mid-August the outbreak was “under control”, but since the incubation period for Ebola is around 21 days they were unable to say for certain that it was over.
The WHO stressed Monday that all probable and confirmed cases had been monitored for 21 days or more, adding that “the last confirmed case was discharged on August 24 … following recovery”.
Ebola broke out in early July in Uganda’s western Kibale district, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Kampala, and around 50 kilometres (30 kilometres) from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ebola, which spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected persons, is fatal in about 50 to 90 percent of cases, with victims bleeding from body orifices before dying in the most severe instances.
The rare haemorrhagic disease, named after a small river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000.
Since the latest outbreak in Uganda, at least 10 people, including three healthcare workers, have meanwhile died of a different strain of Ebola in the neighbouring DR Congo, the WHO said last month.