The United States of America has introduced screening procedures to check for Ebola at major airports. The information was communicated in a communiqué released by the American Embassy in Uganda, stating that the measure was necessary to ensure safety following recent reports of an Ebola outbreak in Uganda.
The report also revealed that the United States would only allow entry into the country for persons who have been to Uganda in the last 21 days after they have completed the checks.
To make the screening possible, travelers who have been to Uganda within the last 21 days will be redirected to five airports to screen them for Ebola. The Embassy said that measures became imperative “out of an abundance of caution”, and travelers will be redirected to JFK, Newark, Atlanta, O’Hare, or Dulles airports.
At the designated airports, travelers will undergo tests to check their temperature, and they will be asked health questions, in addition to mandatory reporting of their arrivals to local health departments.
Ebola Outbreak in Uganda
The 2022 Uganda Ebola outbreak is an ongoing outbreak of the Sudan ebolavirus, which causes Ebola, in the Western Region and Central Region of Uganda.
According to reports, an outbreak of Ebola was announced in Uganda on 20 September after cases and deaths were confirmed by the country’s ministry of health.
Since its announcement, many international health institutions have partnered with the government of Uganda to work with the ministry of health in setting up initial emergency response mechanisms to prevent the virus from spreading and treat those with confirmed cases.
So far, the Ugandan ministry of health has confirmed 43 cases of Ebola and reported 29 deaths across five districts in the country.
Many countries in the continent have begun taking steps to set up testing centers at international airports as experts continue to monitor developments in Uganda.
Perhaps the biggest concern about the Ebola outbreak in Uganda is that the current Sudan strain has no approved vaccine, unlike the Zaire strain.
Ebola virus disease, also called Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), is passed among humans through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or objects and surfaces contaminated with such fluids.
Ebola is a severe and often deadly viral disease with a high mortality rate, and its symptoms can range from fever to kidney and liver failure to internal and external bleeding. The last Ebola outbreak in Uganda was in 2019.
According to the World Health Organization, the average fatality rate for Ebola is about 50%. The WHO says this outbreak appears to have been caused by the Sudan virus, which it describes as a “severe, often fatal illness affecting humans.” There are currently no approved vaccines or therapeutics for the Sudan ebolavirus.
The CDC recommends avoiding unnecessary travel to the affected districts in Uganda and avoiding contact with sick people and dead bodies. Travelers should also isolate and seek medical help if symptoms appear, such as fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.