KAMPALA, Oct 5 – Uganda on Thursday declared an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that killed 17 people dead to be over, officials said.
The health ministry has “officially declared an end to the Ebola outbreak that broke out in Kibale district in July,” a statement read.
The declaration followed the end of the 42-day surveillance period mandated by the World Health Organisation during which no new cases were reported.
Health officials welcomed the announcement and called on any travel restrictions on Ugandans to be lifted.
“Since the country is free of Ebola, we appeal to all countries with travel bans on Uganda to lift them to enable free movement of our people,” said Sarah Acheng, state health minister.
Ebola broke out in early July in Uganda’s western Kibale district, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Kampala, and around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ebola, which spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected persons, is fatal in about 50 to 90 percent of cases, with victims bleeding from body orifices before dying in the most severe instances.
The rare haemorrhagic disease, named after a small river in DR Congo, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000.
Since the latest outbreak in Uganda, at least 36 people have meanwhile died of a different strain of Ebola in neighbouring DR Congo, according to the WHO.