16 January 2013

Uganda: Health Ministry Declares Luweero District Ebola Free

The health ministry has today (Jan.16) declared an end to the Ebola outbreak that was reported in Luweero District last November.

The announcement follows completion of the mandatory 42 days of the post- Ebola surveillance countdown period which is a prerequisite of the World Health Organization (WHO) requiring any affected country to monitor the Ebola situation for a specific period before finally declaring an end to the outbreak.

An Ebola outbreak was declared on November 14 in the central Uganda district after receiving confirmation from the Uganda Virus Research Institute that two people from the same family in Kakuute village in Nyimba sub-County had died of Ebola.

According to the health ministry statement, the announcement of the outbreak came a month after Uganda had declared an end to the Ebola epidemic in Kibaale District and three weeks after another outbreak of Marburg was confirmed in Kabale and Ibanda districts in western Uganda.

During the Luweero outbreak, seven cases were reported in which nearly 90% of the victims were relatives living in the same sub-County as the index case.

Dr. Christine Ondoa, the health minister said during the function to declare the end of the outbreak all structures previously set up to contain outbreaks in various districts were still operational to combat any potential risks.

She said the trained health workers are still actively watching the situation, the laboratory system at the UVRI is still operational while the national and district taskforces are all on the alert to watch out for any emerging threats.

The statement noted that the ministry's close working relationship with other partners was crucial in the containment of the epidemic because of the effective leadership and coordination of the response activities by the national and district task force.

The WHO country representative, Dr. Joaquin Saweka, said WHO is fully committed to supporting the ministry to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the recent viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks that will inform response to future outbreaks.

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