The highly deadly Ebola virus is spreading in Uganda. The East African country is now taking national measures to prevent further spread. This is the first time since the outbreak was identified in September.
On Tuesday, the country decided to close schools two weeks earlier than planned. Primary and secondary education will now close on November 25. This is two weeks before the end of the school year.
According to Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni, closing the school will help prevent the spread, as the virus can easily spread in crowded classrooms.
This is the first time Uganda has taken national measures. In October, lockdowns were already in place in two areas where Ebola was detected.
Uganda has been dealing with an outbreak of the Ebola virus since September 20. In October, the first case of the disease was diagnosed in the capital, Kampala, where about two million Ugandans live. Since then, the virus has been found in several places in the country.
At least 135 cases have been identified. The disease has claimed the lives of 53 Ugandans so far. But the World Health Organization believes more people have died from Ebola.
It’s a different viral variant than the Zaire variant, which circulated from 2014 to 2016 during the deadliest outbreak to date. The alternative identified by Uganda is the so-called Sudan variable. This variant is less contagious and deadly than variant Zaire. But unlike the Zaire variant, there is no vaccine yet for the Sudanese formula.
According to the World Health Organization, there are several candidate vaccines, but they are not yet approved for widespread use. According to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, these vaccines will be tested in the coming weeks.
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