Medicine

Ebola outbreak spreads outside Congo, WHO says

Ebola outbreak spreads outside Congo, WHO says

This case is the first confirmed case of Ebola that Uganda has detected during the ongoing outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In April a WHO expert committee decided that the outbreak, while of "deep concern", was not yet a global health emergency. The confirmed case is a 5 year old boy who travelled from the Democratic republic Of Congo (DRC) with his family on 9th June 2019.

According to an update posted by the DRC's minister of health today, the boy was traveling with 14 family members, 12 of whom were symptomatic, when they were detected by the teams of the National Border Health Program (PNHF) installed at Kasindi health checkpoint at the Ugandan border. Although the emergency operations center had good communication with emergency sites, there were roadblocks to communication with health workers at the health centers, points of entry and, in particular, the Ebola treatment units at 2 hospitals and the global airport.

The outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. He was then transferred to an Ebola treatment unit-where the health care workers already have been vaccinated-in nearby Bwera. The Ugandan Ministry of Health and the WHO have dispatched a rapid response team to the area. "The ministry of health re-echoes its call on the general public to cooperate with immigration, health and security officials to ensure effective screening at all entry points to prevent further spread of Ebola to other parts of the country".

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Confirmation of cross-border contamination is a blow to local health officials who have been monitoring the border and isolating probable Ebola patients.

World Health Organization has long feared that the lingering Ebola outbreak in the DRC, which has sickened more than 2000 people there and killed about two-thirds of the identified cases, would spread to neighboring countries.

For 10 months, Uganda has closely monitored its porous border with the DRC for crossover cases, yet, despite numerous alerts, no cases have been detected until now.

According to the WHO, Uganda vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers in 165 facilities with an experimental drug created to protect them against the virus.


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