Published: Wed, June 12, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

One case of Ebola confirmed in Uganda

One case of Ebola confirmed in Uganda

Uganda's health ministry says a patient has tested positive for Ebola in what is the first cross-border case of the deadly virus since an outbreak started in neighbouring Congo past year.

Aceng says Ugandan health officials were alerted of the presence of contacts of an Ebola case from DRC and their phone contacts provided for close monitoring by their counterparts across the border. The ministry said it will undertake ring vaccination of the contact cases and other non vaccinated health workers.

A case of Ebola has been confirmed in Uganda, ten months after the deadly virus was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated almost 4 700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including in the facility where the child is being cared for); disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognising symptoms of the disease.

Ugandan Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a news conference on Tuesday that the boy's family members are being monitored, including two who have exhibited Ebola-like symptoms. The patient is a 5-year-old boy who has been admitted to Bwera hospital's isolation unit. Uganda officials found the family members at the Kagando hospital, where the boy's Ebola case was confirmed. Since the epidemic began in August in eastern Congo, the Congo health ministry said on Monday that it had recorded 2,062 cases including 1,390 deaths.

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For the first time an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used, with more than 130,000 doses distributed.

The effort to contain it has been severely hampered by ongoing conflict in North Kivu that has sown distrust between outside organizations, such as the WHO and United Nations, and locals wary of interference in their affairs.

Neighbouring Uganda has suffered regular outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg over the years, both high-fatality viral haemorrhagic fevers.

"The spread of Ebola across the worldwide border is a clear signal that the global community must reset and redouble its efforts" in fighting the disease, the worldwide Rescue Committee said in a statement calling itself "extremely alarmed".

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