District officials in the latest affected area of Uganda reported two more Ebola cases that involve family members of a recently confirmed case-patient in Jinja, according to the Monitor, a Kampala-based newspaper, reported today.
The patients include the daughter of a man who recently died from a confirmed Ebola infection in Jinja and her 18-month-old daughter. Both are receiving care at the Entebbe Ebola treatment center.
At a World Health Organization (WHO) briefing today, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said the country's case total has risen to 141 lab-confirmed cases, 55 of them fatal. Also, he said there are now 22 suspected cases.
Tedros also announced that an outside advisory group to the WHO has reviewed three candidate Sudan Ebola vaccines and has recommended that all be included in planned trials in Uganda. The country's health officials have already approved plans to test the vaccines in the outbreak setting, and Tedros said Uganda's health ministry and the WHO have accepted the group's recommendation. He added that the first vaccine doses are expected to arrive in Uganda next week.
In addition, a separate WHO advisory group has selected two investigational treatments for a trial and a trial design, which have been submitted to the WHO and authorities in Uganda. In late October, the country's health minister said officials are evaluating some promising treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and repurposed drugs and added that a few patients had already received them.
At today's briefing, Tedros said Uganda has slowed Ebola transmission in two districts, but is now battling the virus in a ninth district—Jinja, which is farther east than the other affected districts.
Progress and challenges
In an address to the country yesterday, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni acknowledged the progress. But he also detailed the challenges, including a cluster of cases in Kasanda district linked to various activities, including exhuming of the body of a person who died from Ebola.
He also said some taxi drivers in areas under restrictions are still carrying passengers and people are still seeing traditional healers, which is prohibited in the outbreak regions.
Museveni said contacts are escaping from quarantine and spreading the virus to other parts of the county, most recently to Jinja, where 245 contacts are now under monitoring, with 5 in the Entebbe Ebola treatment center with symptoms.