Published: Thu, July 18, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Uganda fears Ebola outbreak after Congolese fish trader's death

Uganda fears Ebola outbreak after Congolese fish trader's death

The World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak in Congo to be a global emergency Wednesday, elevating the almost yearlong crisis and issuing a global cry for more help despite the reservations of local officials.

"The inability to build community trust has proven a major barrier to stopping the spread of this disease".

The health response relies on tracking down people who may have been exposed to the virus and vaccinating them and anybody they have had contact with.

The IRC has been responding to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu since its declaration in August past year working in more than 70 health facilities and leading on infection prevention and control (IPC) and working in women's and children's protection, integrating Ebola-related protection concerns in areas where IRC supports primary health care services. Tedros warned that any border closures by the DRC's neighbors would force people to use informal, unmonitored crossings that would increase the risk of virus spread.

The WHO, meanwhile, describes a public health emergency of worldwide concern as "an extraordinary event" that also includes a "public health risk to other States through the global spread of disease" and "to potentially require a coordinated worldwide response". The World Bank in May also pledged to release an additional $10 million from its Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to help with response; the WHO has to-date received $6.5 million, officials said at the press conference Wednesday.

Rwanda's health minister, Diane Gashumba, said her country is taking precautionary measures after the pastor who contracted Ebola crossed Goma's bustling border into Rwanda.

The Ministry and the World Health Organization said there were now no confirmed Ebola cases in Uganda.

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A driver gets his hands washed at an Ebola screening station on the road between Butembo and Goma, July 16, 2019 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The first Ebola case was discovered recently in the city of Goma, which has more than 1 million people. Only four such declarations have been made in the past.

So far "no one has been found to be positive of the Ebola virus".

Goma is more than 220 miles south of where the latest outbreak was first detected a year ago. The attacks have led to spikes in cases and hurt the painstaking work of tracing the thousands of people who have come into contact with those infected.

Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said global partners need to "shoulder more of the burden" in Congo, where responders have been working since August to reel in a stubborn Ebola outbreak that has killed over 1,675. "Despite significant improvement in many places, there is concern about potential spread from Goma", it said. It's second only to the 2014-2016 epidemic in multiple West African countries that infected 28,652 people and killed 11,325, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This isn't like past Ebola outbreaks, which occurred in relatively stable climates". It is produced by Merck and still unlicensed, which means it can only be used in a clinical trial overseen by Congo's health ministry.

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