WHAT IS THE CURRENT TREND OF THE OUTBREAK IN UGANDA?
In terms of trends, we saw two important peaks in the outbreak. The first one was in September in the Mubende district which was the first epicentre of this outbreak, and then another followed in the neighbouring district of Kassanda. While cases in these two districts alone represent 80 percent of all cases detected so far in this outbreak, overall nine districts in the country were affected. Historically, this is the largest geographic spread of Ebola Uganda has ever faced.
After a steep rise of cases in October (86 cases over 4 weeks), the outbreak slowed in terms of numbers of new confirmed cases in recent weeks (14 cases in 4 weeks in November). However, we are very concerned that we had several Ebola cases that were not linked to any known chains of transmission – meaning they had acquired the infection from a source which was unknown at the moment they were found, and that the response could not foresee these cases as they should have been through contact tracing and follow-up. This led to two new districts being affected, Masaka and Jinja.
The follow up of case contacts is extremely important to control an outbreak. When we are on time in being able to identify all the people who were in contact with a confirmed case, we can monitor their health and help them to seek care swiftly at the right health facility in case Ebola related symptoms develop. Yet, according the Ministry of Health data only around 64% of case contacts were initially followed-up, pointing to gaps in this crucial part of the response. While the overall epidemiological trend is now positive, we remain concerned and vigilant about what could still happen.