Ebola Outbreaks

Authored by
Staff
Last reviewed
November 25, 2022

Ebola Outbreaks

The Ebola virus first appeared in 1976, causing outbreaks in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, where the disease takes its name. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak. The WHO publishes a Chronology of previous Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks.

The virus family Filoviridae includes three genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus. Within the genus Ebolavirus, six species have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Taï Forest, Reston, and Bombali.

Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare but often fatal human illness. Versions of the virus are transmitted to people from wild animals and spread through human-to-human transmission, with case fatality rates varying from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. Infection with the virus to symptom onset can range from 2 to 21 days. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.

Sudan Ebolavirus Outbreak

The Sudan Ebolavirus (SUDV) outbreak in Uganda was declared on September 20, 2022. Since the outbreak declaration, a total of 141 confirmed cases and 55 confirmed deaths (CFR 39%) from Ebola disease caused by the SUDV have been reported by the Uganda Ministry of Health as of November 25, 2022. Overall, 19 cases with seven deaths occurred among healthcare workers. As a result, the WHO revised the risk assessment for this event on November 4, 2022, from high to very high at the national level and from low to high at the regional level, while the risk remained low at the global level.

The President of the Republic of Uganda delivered his 4th Address to the Nation on November 15, 2022. As of November 18, 2022, there are a total of 141 confirmed cases of SUDV, and 55 of these have died. EVD outbreaks caused by the Sudan ebolavirus have previously occurred in the Republic of Uganda (four outbreaks) and Sudan (three outbreaks). The last outbreak of EVD due to Sudan ebolavirus in Uganda was reported in 2012

The U.S. CDC reissued  Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions notice on November 16, 2022, regarding the SUDV outbreak, as did Uganda's government. In addition, on November 5, 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala reported the U.S. had channeled more than $22.3 million through implementing partners to support the Government of Uganda-led response to the current Ebola virus outbreak. Accordingly, the U.S. Embassy recommends deferral of non-essential U.S. Government employee travel to and through the Mubende and Kassanda districts.

The U.S. CDC issued Health Alert Network Health Advisory CDCHAN-00477 on October 6, 2022, and CDCHAN-00480 on November 7, 2022. Since October 6, 2022, all U.S.-bound passengers who have been in Uganda have been routed to designated airports for enhanced Ebola screening. The U.S. government conducted similar airport exit and entry screening for Ebola in 2014.

The UKHSA issued a public health message on November 14, 2022, regarding the Sudan Ebolavirus outbreak in Uganda. All workers returning to the U.K. from areas affected by SUDV should be risk assessed by the UKHSA. On November 1, 2022, the WHO advised against any restrictions on travel and/or trade to Uganda based on available information for the current SUDV outbreak.

Currently, the government does SUDV testing exclusively through the Uganda Virus Research Institute and the Central Public Health Laboratory in Butabika at no cost. The @MinofHealthUG informed the general public that PCR is the ONLY authorized testing method for Ebola.

Sudan Ebolavirus Outbreak News 2022

November 21, 2022 - South Sudan screening facility in Gumbo Shirikat, Juba; Health workers screened over 1,780 travelers & no alert was detected.

November 16, 2022 - The NEJM published a Perspective: Understanding the Key to Outbreak Control — SUDV in Uganda.

November 8, 2022 - Media reported Uganda's Education Minister confirmed the decision to close most schools on November 25, after 23 SUDV cases were confirmed among pupils, including eight related fatalities.

November 2, 2022 - The African Union CDC published Outbreak Brief 6: Sudan EVD in Uganda.

October 28, 2022 - Uganda issued a press release saying all contacts to Sudan Ebolavirus confirmed cases are not allowed to travel locally or internationally for 21 days.

October 28, 2022 - The WHO published: Ebola Disease caused by Sudan virus. Please refer to the latest situation reports published by the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

October 25, 2022 - The Republic of Uganda Ministry of Health reported 95 confirmed SUDV cases, 28 confirmed deaths, and 34 recoveries. 

October 15, 2022 - In response to the SUDV outbreak, Ugandan President Museveni imposed restrictions on movements in and out of the Mubende and Kassanda districts.

October 7, 2022 - The Republic of Uganda Health Ministry issued a travel alert regarding the spreading the Sudan ebolavirus.

October 5, 2022 - @JaneRuth_Aceng Tweeted: I regret to announce the passing of an anesthetic officer. The 58-year-old succumbed to Ebola at Fort Portal Hospital (JMedic) after battling the disease for 17 days.

October 4, 2022 - Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. confirmed the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response awarded a $109.8 million contract for developing and potentially purchasing a mAb therapeutic to treat Sudan ebolavirus infections.

October 3, 2022 - South Sudan's government sent samples of the Ebola viral disease for testing.

October 1, 2022 - Uganda's Health Minister announced the death of Mohammed Ali, M.D., a 37-year-old doctor from Tanzania who tested positive for Ebola on September 26 and died while receiving treatment at an isolation center at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda.

September 29, 2022 - The Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are developing a Sudan Ebola vaccine. There are only 100 doses of the vaccine in a ready-to-use format. "We are working with Uganda and WHO to determine the best way to use these doses in the current outbreak," Richard Koup, acting director of the VCR, told STAT in an email. 

September 27, 2022 - The Democratic Republic of the Congo declared the end of a Zaire Ebolavirus outbreak that re-emerged in the country's North Kivu Province in August 2022.

September 22, 2022 - The WHO/Africa reported that seven cases, including one death, have been confirmed to have contracted the Sudan ebolavirus, and ten people are suspected of having caught the virus.

September 21, 2022 - The IDSA announced the recent Republic of Uganda Sudan ebolavirus outbreak means U.S. FDA-licensed vaccines for Zaire ebolavirus cannot be used.

September 20, 2022 - Uganda health authorities declared an outbreak of Ebola after the first case of the Sudan ebolavirus in ten years was confirmed in the Mubende district.

Ebola Vaccines

Ebola vaccine technologies include replication-deficient adenovirus vectors, replication-competent vesicular stomatitis, human parainfluenza vectors, and virus-like nanoparticle preparations. Detailed vaccine information is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Ebola.

International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision

Leading international health and humanitarian organizations announced a global Ebola vaccine stockpile to ensure outbreak response. The ICG was created as an additional tool to help control Ebola outbreaks. Ebola outbreaks are relatively rare and unpredictable, and due to limited vaccine quantities, the current Ervebo vaccine is reserved for outbreak response. An initial 6,890 doses will be made available on a priority basis for outbreak response starting January 12, 2021. To request access to ICG stocks, national or international health authorities should submit an application form to the ICG Secretariat or an ICG member agency in the country.