Ebola Outbreaks 2023

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Last reviewed
May 13, 2023
Content Overview
Ebola outbreaks began in 1976 and continued in May 2023. The Zaire and Sudan virus types are common in Africa.

Ebola Outbreaks May 2023

The initial Ebola virus disease (EVD) case first appeared in 1976, causing outbreaks in the African countries of 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, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The World Health Organization (WHO) publishes a Chronology of EVD outbreaks and recommends surveillance for six months following the declaration of an Ebola-free country. Separately, the CDC issues a list of EVD Cases and Outbreaks.  

On May 8, 2023, local media reported that in North Kivu, DRC reported a positive case of Ebola. "Regarding Ebola virus disease surveillance, we received a sample that turned out to be positive from the Kyondo health zone and in the Butembo site," said Damulo Luhavo.

Sudan Ebolavirus Outbreak

The Sudan Ebolavirus (SUDV) outbreak in the Republic of Uganda was declared on September 20, 2022. Since the outbreak declaration, it's the fifth overall for this kind of Ebola; the last outbreak was in 2012; there were 164 cases (142 confirmed and 22 probable), 55 confirmed deaths, and 87 recovered patients. Overall, the case-fatality ratio was 47%. There were 19 cases, with seven deaths occurring among healthcare workers. The last patient was released from care on November 30, 2022, when the 42-day countdown to end the outbreak began. 

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 Zaire Ebolavirus 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 travel and/or trade restrictions to Uganda based on available information for the current SUDV outbreak.

Virological.org's preliminary analysis of selected Sudan Ebola Virus isolates from the 2022 Uganda outbreak. A further investigation with more samples will be required to understand better the possible relevance of mutations concerning the current Ebola Sudan outbreak and future outbreaks in Uganda.

Zaire Ebolavirus Outbreaks

On August 22, 2022, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ministry of Health announced an outbreak of EVD in North Kivu Province, one of the epicenters of DRC's 10th outbreak in 2018-2020. 

Between 2014 and 2016, West Africa endured a Zaire Ebolavirus outbreak. Over 29,000 people were infected, and more than 11,000 died. The African countries most afflicted were Sierra Leone and Liberia. Overall, eleven people were treated for Ebola in the U.S. during the 2014-2016 epidemic. 

In May 1972, a physician had lacerated his finger while performing an autopsy on a Zairois bible school student. In 1977, his hospital records were reviewed, and his symptoms were characteristic of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.

Ebola Vaccines 2023

Ebola vaccine information is posted at this link.

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.

Ebola Virus Disease

The Ebola 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 viruses (EBOV) assemble into filamentous virions whose shape and stability are determined by the matrix viral protein 40 (VP40). pH-driven structural remodeling of the VP40 matrix acts as a molecular switch coupling viral matrix uncoating to membrane fusion during EBOV entry.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare but often fatal human illness, says the WHO. 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%. Infection with the Ebola virus to symptom onset, including fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat, can range from 2 to 21 days.

Marburg Virus Outbreaks

Marburg virus outbreaks have been reported in Africa in 2023.

Ebola Outbreak News 2023

March 28, 2023 - The journal Virology published a Research Article - This study is the first to examine the Kikwit strain of EBOV, the most commonly used strain, in the gold-standard macaque infection model. This is the first description of detecting the virus in the vitreous fluid (eye). This immune-privileged site has been proposed as a viral reservoir following conjunctival challenge. 

March 17, 2023 - Tanzania's Ministry of Health confirmed seven fatalities in the northwest Kagera region showed symptoms such as fever, vomiting, bleeding, and kidney failure.

February 11, 2023 - Dr. Syra Madad (@syramadad) tweeted, 'Cameroon restricts movement after 'several unexplained deaths' in Equatorial Guinea from hemorrhagic fever.' Cameroon's health ministry recently issued a statement saying it had recorded around 20 deaths in villages in Equatorial Guinea's Kie-Ntem province, which borders Cameroon.

January 11, 2023 - The Republic of Uganda ended the current SUDV outbreak.