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Uganda: Experimental Ebola drugs approved for use; two new cases suspected

By
Darryl Coote
Uganda's Ministry of Health said Tuesday that it has been free of a confirmed Ebola case for four days though it has two patients who may be infected with the disease in isolation. Photo courtesy of the World Health Organization Uganda/Twitter
Uganda's Ministry of Health said Tuesday that it has been free of a confirmed Ebola case for four days though it has two patients who may be infected with the disease in isolation. Photo courtesy of the World Health Organization Uganda/Twitter

June 19 (UPI) -- Uganda's health minister announced that officials have been cleared to use three new experimental Ebola treatments, a week after the disease entered the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Happy to inform you all that we got clearance from both Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and National Drug Authority to bring in the Therapeutic treatment for Ebola patients in the country," Uganda's Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng said on Twitter.

Authorization of the new treatments came as Uganda's Ministry of Health said it has two new suspected cases of the disease.

The ministry said in a press release that the patients were in isolation at the Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit and that blood samples had been drawn and sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for testing.

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The ministry also said it has been four days since the country registered a confirmed case of Ebola.

Uganda has been fighting to contain the disease since June 9 when a family infected with Ebola crossed into the country from the DRC seeking medical attention.

A 5-year-old Congolese boy was the first confirmed case followed by his 50-year-old grandmother and 3-year-old brother. All three have since died from the disease.

WHO also said Monday that Uganda has vaccinated 128 people who have come into contact with the three confirmed cases and is currently trying to locate the remaining three of 92 people who came into contact with the two patients in isolation.

In DRC, the number of Ebola cases has climbed to 2,181 since the outbreak began in August, according to data from the DRC released Tuesday. This is an increase of 33 cases from the day prior.

Over the past 10 months, 1,365 people confirmed to have been infected with the disease and another 94 people suspected to have been carrying Ebola have died in the DRC, it said.

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