June 17, 2019

Uganda confirms 1st Ebola case outside outbreak in Congo

12 June 2019, 07:26 | Silvia Roy

Baz Ratner Reuters FILE

Baz Ratner  Reuters FILE

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). The grandfather died from Ebola in Mabalako, one of the DRC's current hot spots, the statemenet said. Two family members were being tested for Ebola after developing symptoms, with results expected on Wednesday. For the first time an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used, and Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers, WHO said. Their infections have not yet been confirmed.

"Recognizing the symptoms of Ebola, PNHF teams did not let the family pass and transferred the 12 symptomatic people to the transitional isolation center at Kasindi Hospital pending transfer to the Ebola Treatment Center in Beni to take the samples".

Health officials have feared the spread of the virus, which has festered in DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces for almost a year.

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

Uganda has been on high alert since the outbreak in the eastern DRC, where more than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been recorded, two-thirds of which have been fatal. The boy's case was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI), and he's receiving care in the Ebola Treatment Unit in the western Ugandan town of Bwera, which sits at the border with DRC.

The boy is now receiving treatment, and people he came into contact with are being monitored, the World Health Organization said.

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For now, Aceng said Ugandan front line workers will continue to receive the VSV-EBOV vaccine to protect themselves from the virus.

In April an expert committee of the WHO decided that Congo's outbreak, while of "deep concern", was not yet a global health emergency. At the group's last meeting in April, lack of worldwide spread was among the reasons the group held off on recommending a PHEIC declaration.

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