Ebola Disease in Uganda
Level 2 - Practise enhanced health precautions (more details)
Original publication date: October 7, 2022
Updated: October 28, 2022
On September 20, 2022, the Ministry of Health of Uganda declared an Ebola disease outbreak in the Mubende District, which has since spread to other districts. This outbreak has been linked to Sudan virus, which is closely related to Ebola virus. Disease caused by Sudan virus is also referred to as Sudan Virus Disease (SVD).
Be aware of current movement restrictions in Mubende and Kassanda districts as a result of the Ebola disease outbreak. Further restrictions may be put in place in Uganda during your travel. Should you become ill while abroad, you may also be subject to your destination’s infection management procedures, such as isolation, and you may have limited access to timely and appropriate health care.
The last reported outbreak caused by Sudan virus was in 2012. There are a number of ongoing challenges for SVD surveillance in Uganda, including rapid case detection and containment, high population mobility, and community mistrust toward authorities and outbreak responders. Investigations are ongoing to establish transmission chains and determine the full scope of the outbreak.
The Government of Canada is recommending that travellers practise enhanced health precautions when visiting Uganda.
About Ebola Disease
Ebola disease is a severe and often fatal viral disease.
Travellers increase their risk of contracting Ebola disease through participation in activities that place them in contact with:
- infected blood or body fluids of an Ebola disease patient (e.g., provision of healthcare, attending a burial, sexual contact).
- infected animal reservoirs (e.g., consumption of bushmeat) in Ebola disease affected areas.
Canadian travellers following typical tourist or business itineraries are unlikely to encounter these exposures. There is no risk of transmission from casual interaction with asymptomatic travellers returning from outbreak areas.
Symptoms of Ebola disease can include:
- feeling tired
- muscle pain and weakness
- sore throat
- nausea and vomiting
It can become more severe, with some people experiencing severe bleeding (hemorrhaging), loss of consciousness and death.
Symptoms can begin 2 to 21 days after exposure.
There are no approved vaccines or treatments for Ebola disease caused by Sudan virus.
Before your trip:
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel. Make sure your routine vaccines are up to date.
Visit the Uganda Travel Advice and Advisories page.
During your trip
- Practice strict hand washing routines and take measures to prevent other infectious diseases (like those transmitted through food, water or insects) that may be mistaken for the early signs of Ebola disease or cause you to seek treatment in a health care facility.
- Avoid contact with people with Ebola disease, and their body fluids. Avoid participating in burial practices and contact with the bodies of people who have died of Ebola disease or unknown illnesses.
- Avoid unprotected sexual activity with an infected person or a person recovering from Ebola disease. The virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males and possibly vaginal secretions of infected females.
- Avoid close contact with live or dead animals, as both can spread the virus. Animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope, pigs, porcupines, duikers and fruit bats may be carriers.
- Avoid handling raw or undercooked meat and avoid eating bushmeat (meat from animals caught in the wild).
Humanitarian aid workers and health professionals should follow the guidance provided by their organization, and practise strict infection control measures, including the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (e.g., gowns, masks, goggles and gloves) when providing care for people suspected or confirmed of having Ebola disease.
- Avoid contact with medical equipment, such as needles, and personal belongings that may have been contaminated with body fluids of people with Ebola disease or other unknown illnesses.
Travellers should isolate immediately and seek medical care if they develop symptoms of Ebola disease.
Returning to Canada
Monitor your health. Do not travel if you have symptoms of Ebola disease. If you feel sick or experience any symptoms of Ebola disease during the flight or upon arrival, tell the flight attendant before you land or the border services officer as you enter the country. They will notify a quarantine officer who can assess your symptoms.
If you were exposed to a source of Ebola disease, you must report this information to a Canada Border Services Agent on arrival in Canada. This is required under the Quarantine Act. The Canada Border Services Agent will give you instructions to follow.
What to do if you become ill after returning to Canada
Before visiting a doctor or a hospital, immediately call your appropriate public health authority if you have or if anyone in your household has:
- any of the symptoms listed above, and;
- has travelled in an Ebola disease-affected area in the last 21 days
Describe your symptoms over the phone, tell them where you have been travelling or living and mention any possible exposure risks.
The public health authority will make appropriate arrangements for your medical assessment.
Follow the instructions provided to you by your public health authority and:
- if not already isolated, immediately separate yourself from those around you and do not have physical contact with people or pets and animals
- wash your hands frequently, especially after vomiting or using the toilet
- ensure that others do not come into contact with your body fluids (including blood, urine, feces, vomit, saliva, sweat, breast milk and semen) or anything that may have come in contact with your body fluids (e.g. linens, clothing, toilet, toiletries)
Information for Health Care Professionals
The Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) has developed a statement on Ebola Virus Disease Prevention, Monitoring and Surveillance Recommendations.
Registration of Canadians Abroad
Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home
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