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Uganda celebrates end of Ebola outbreak

Uganda’s Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng has confirmed the end of a nearly four-month Ebola outbreak in the country.

The East African nation had briefly struggled to contain the deadly disease but was then able to swiftly bring it under control, despite the absence of a proven vaccine against the viral strain in question.

“We have successfully controlled the spread of Ebola in Uganda,” Ms Aceng said during a ceremony to mark the outbreak’s end.

She said it was Uganda’s eighth Ebola outbreak since 2000, when the country recorded its first and most deadly one that killed more than half of the 425 people it infected.

According to a Reuters report citing Uganda’s health ministry estimates, the latest outbreak killed 55 of the 143 people infected since September.

Six of the fatalities were health workers, the report said.

The declaration followed Uganda’s completion of 42 days with no active cases, which represents two full incubation periods of the virus.

In the early weeks of the outbreak, cases spread beyond the epicenter of Mubende, 150 km (90 miles) west of the capital, Kampala, to several other districts, including Kampala.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, praised Uganda for its response to the virus.

“Uganda has shown that Ebola can be defeated when the whole system works together, from having an alert system in place, to finding and caring for people affected and their contacts, to gaining the full participation of affected communities in the response,” he said in a statement.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Tony Okerafor