Ebola outbreak coming to an end in Uganda, continues in Congo
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While Ebola continues to kill in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an outbreak of the virus in neighboring Uganda appears to be coming to an end, the World Health Organization said Monday, reporting that no new cases of the deadly virus had been confirmed in Uganda for a month.
Since the Ugandan outbreak began, 24 people are believed to have suffered from the virus, including 17 who died, the United Nations agency said. The last person confirmed to be stricken recovered from the virus and was discharged more than a week ago.
“All contacts of probable and confirmed cases have been followed up daily and have completed the recommended 21 days of monitoring for any possible signs or symptoms of Ebola,” the WHO said in a statement Monday. Ebola isolation facilities remain on standby.
The Ugandan outbreak was first declared by its health ministry in late July, spurring health officials and the president to warn Ugandans against handling dead animals and burying those who might have died from the virus. Many of the recent cases have been tied back to the funeral of a baby girl whose mother was also sick, Doctors Without Borders said last month.
While the outbreak in Uganda has waned, the neighboring Congo is still grappling with a separate outbreak of the virus. As of late August, the Congo outbreak had sickened 24 people and killed 11 more in the northeastern region of Province Orientale. The two outbreaks were caused by different kinds of Ebola and “are not epidemiologically linked,” the WHO said. The highly infectious virus, which has no known treatment or vaccine, has caused more than 1,200 deaths since it was discovered, according to the U.N. agency.
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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Photo: A handout photograph released by Doctors Without Borders shows its staff launching an emergency intervention against an Ebolaoutbreak at the Kagadi hospital in western Uganda on July 31. Credit: Agus Morales / Doctors Without Borders / European Pressphoto Agency