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Official: Uganda recording downward trend in Ebola cases

Members of the Ugandan Medical staff of the Ebola Treatment Unit stand inside the ward in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda on Sept 24, 2022. (BADRU KATUMBA / AFP)

KAMPALA – Uganda has recorded a drop in the number of new Ebola cases, with some districts going for at least two weeks without registering new infections, health ministry officials said.

The development is a major sign the East African country is having a measure of success in efforts to combat its latest outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever disease more than two months after it was declared.

The development is a major sign the East African country is having a measure of success in efforts to combat its latest outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever disease

Central Uganda's Mubende district was where the outbreak was originally declared on Sept 20. It and another district, Kassanda, are considered to be the epicenters for the disease's spread. Movement in and out of them has been restricted.

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"We are seeing a downward trend in the number of cases," Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said on the local NTV news service late on Wednesday, citing the absence of new cases in the two districts over many days.

"We are also not seeing new cases in Kampala, in the greater Kampala metropolitan area, neither are we seeing cases in Masaka and Jinja," two other cities, she said.

Health Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona told Reuters on Thursday that Mubende had gone for at least 16 days without a new case and that Kampala, the capital, had not recorded new infections for at least two weeks.

The virus circulating in Uganda is the Sudan strain of Ebola, for which there is no proven vaccine, unlike the more common Zaire strain, which spread during recent outbreaks in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

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But three candidate vaccines against the Sudan strain are planned for a clinical trial in Uganda.

The country has so far recorded 141 cases and 55 deaths, according to the ministry.