Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the spread of the Ebola virus beyond the epicenter in central Uganda is concerning and needs concerted efforts to contain.
“Ebola control in urban areas can be complex and requires coordinated and sustained efforts to interrupt transmission,” Tedros said in a tweet. According to Uganda’s Ministry of Health, Ebola has spread from Mubende district where it was first reported on Sept. 20 to four neighboring districts within two weeks.
Due to the movement of contacts and symptomatic individuals, the deadly disease spread to Wakiso and the capital city Kampala. According to the ministry, the country has recorded 109 confirmed cases as of Oct. 26, of whom 30 have died, 34 have healed and 45 are under treatment. Tedros said Uganda with support from WHO and partners continues to ramp up the response by scaling up contact tracing, delivering early care, and community engagement.
“We stand ready to deploy more experts to strengthen all aspects of the Ebola response in Uganda,” Tedros said. “Community engagement is essential to controlling the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, including their ownership and cooperation in accessing timely care and treatment, contact tracing, safe burials and in vaccine trials,” Tedros added.
WHO welcomed Uganda’s move to start administering Ebola trial vaccines in efforts to stop the spread of the viral disease. Uganda’s Minister of Health Ruth Aceng on Wednesday last week announced that within two weeks, the country will start vaccinating contacts of 150 confirmed cases. WHO urged the involvement of the country’s researchers in the vaccine trials as a measure to build capacities for safe and effective vaccinations.
Tedros said cooperation and preparedness of neighboring countries are important in containing the spread of the disease. “An Ebola response is a complex operation that requires all stakeholders to work openly together and to stay vigilant. By working in solidarity and following the ministry of health lead, we can end this outbreak,” he said.