Uganda Ebola free: USA lifts entry screening
The US Government lifted entry screening and public health monitoring of travelers to the US who have been in Uganda in the prior 21 days.
This came following The World Health Organization announcement on January 11, 2023, that declared Uganda free from Ebola after 42 consecutive days of no new infections since the last case was recorded.
A statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reads: “The CDC joins the Government of Uganda and the global public health community in marking the end of the Ebola outbreak in Uganda. Forty-two days, or 2 incubation periods, have passed since the last case of Ebola was reported marking the end of the outbreak. In addition, entry screening and public health monitoring of travelers to the United States who have been in Uganda in the prior 21 days will lift effective today, Wednesday, January 11.”
The outbreak of the Sudan strain of the virus, which started in September, left 55 people dead.
In Uganda, the declaration was made by World Health Organization’s representative to Uganda, Dr. Yonas Tegegn, together with Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s Health Minister, at a function in Mubende district, the epicenter of the fifth outbreak of the Ebola Sudan virus in Uganda.
Aceng noted that the major drivers of transmission were household infection and gatherings at private facilities. The 3 main portals of transmission were physical contact, sexual contact, and trans-placental transmission.
“I now confirm that all transmission chains have been fully interrupted,” Aceng said, “and take this opportunity to declare that outbreak is over and Uganda is now free of active Ebola transmission.”
US Ambassador Natalie E. Brown who attended the event at the Mayors Garden Mubende in her remarks said: “How wonderful it is to be here today to witness the declaration of the end of the Ebola outbreak. The intensity of the past few months left us all exhausted, but as we look back on that period, we can all be proud of the dedication, singular focus, collaboration, and non-stop efforts that brought us to today. Those of you here in Mubende bore the brunt of the outbreak.
“In November, I was here with USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Atul Gawande, as efforts were ongoing to contain the outbreak. It is only fitting that we are back here today to celebrate its end. Thank you to the people of Mubende and local government leaders for your warm welcome.
“Uganda has been a leader in global health security over the past 25 years. The impressive capacity built in the country to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks was instrumental in fighting COVID-19 and has been instrumental in this fight against the Sudan Ebola Virus.” She also commended the Ugandan people for their commitment, their resilience, and their sacrifices.
Said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, in a televised statement:
“I congratulate Uganda for its robust and comprehensive response which has resulted in today’s victory over Ebola.”
Several tour operators were now optimistic after businesses when the 2-year lockdown was lifted a year ago after the COVID-19 pandemic that had brought the sectors to a standstill only for Ebola to strike.
“I commend the Government of Uganda, local health workers, and global public health partners who worked to end the country’s Ebola outbreak,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “I also want to thank the CDC staff on the front lines in Uganda and around the world who worked countless hours to accelerate an end to the outbreak.
“Our heartfelt sympathies are with the people who lost loved ones to this disease. CDC remains committed to partnering with the Ugandan Ministry of Health in support of survivor programs and in helping strengthen global preparedness and response capacities that can prevent or extinguish future Ebola outbreaks.”
The CDC will continue to support the Ugandan Ministry of Health in continuing surveillance, infection prevention and control, and response activities to help ensure rapid detection and response to any future cases and outbreaks.
By press time the US Mission was yet to update their Travel Advisory on Uganda.
This did not dampen the positive outlook for the future by local tour operators. “If we maintain it that way, we shall have a very successful high season this year. Remember we are moving full scale in terms of marketing and promotions in almost all major markets in Europe and America. We should post the good news to inform the world,” said Isa Kato, Board Member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and Proprietor of Pristine Tours.