Uganda Triumphs Over Sudan Ebolavirus Outbreak: Swift Action and Collaboration Key to Success

On January 11, 2023, Uganda announced that its battle against the Ebola virus outbreak had ended. The said Sudan ebolavirus was the leading cause of the infection and spread, which overtook the region for four months. Uganda’s first confirmed case was in the Mubende district, which occurred or began last September 20, 2022.

Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero has a say regarding the outbreak and how important it is that all of Uganda’s community took part to ensure that the outbreak won’t last long. From surveillance, contact tracing, and infection control. Uganda has been very swift in putting up its own measures, especially when acting and recognizing the scale of such an outbreak. Dr. Jane noted that with the awareness and knowledge of all the citizens of the districts involved and at risk of the epidemic, the outcome was similar.

It’s not the first time that Uganda has suffered at the hands of the said Ebola virus; it has been the fifth time overall that they have been in contact with the specific type. Besides, the Sudan ebola virus hasn’t had its victim for over a decade. Unfortunately, according to official reports, there were 164 reported cases of the virus, with 142 confirmed and 22 considered probable. Sadly, 55 individuals lost their lives to the disease, but 87 patients were able to recover. In addition, more than 4,000 individuals who had encounter confirmed cases were closely monitored for 21 days. The overall fatality rate was calculated to be 47%. The final patient was discharged from care on November 30, marking the start of a 42-day countdown to the official end of the outbreak.

Health officials demonstrated a solid commitment to containing the outbreak and quickly implemented various public health measures. In areas identified as hot spots, such as Mubende and Kasanda, residents were subject to restricted movements.

The outbreak of Ebola was determined to be caused by the Sudan ebolavirus, one of the six known virus species for which no approved treatments or vaccines currently exist. Despite this, Uganda’s extensive history of managing similar epidemics enabled the country to swiftly bolster crucial aspects of the response efforts and compensate for the absence of these vital tools.

In the wake of Uganda’s declaration of the Sudan ebolavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization collaborated with a diverse group of partners, including vaccine developers, researchers, donors, and Ugandan health authorities, to identify potential therapeutics and vaccines to be tested. As a result, three candidate vaccines were placed, and over 5,000 doses were shipped to the country, with the first batch arriving on December 8 and the last two on December 17. This rapid collaboration represents a significant achievement in the global ability to respond quickly to rapidly evolving outbreaks and halt their progression before they can worsen.

From the beginning of the outbreak, WHO and its partners supported the Ugandan health authorities by deploying experts, providing training in contact tracing, constructing isolation and treatment centers, and supplying laboratory testing kits. Thanks to these joint efforts, processing Ebola samples was reduced from several days to just six hours. WHO also helped to safeguard healthcare workers by ensuring a steady supply of personal protective equipment. The organization contributed nearly $6.5 million to Uganda’s response efforts and an additional $3 million to support readiness in six neighboring countries.

Although the virus outbreak in Uganda has been announced to be over, health authorities continue monitoring the situation closely. They are prepared to respond quickly to any resurgence of the virus. A follow-up program has been established to provide support to survivors. Meanwhile, neighboring countries are urged to maintain their vigilance and strengthen their capabilities to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.


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