Friday, 23 August, 2019

Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Congo

Measles vaccine Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Congo
Anna Jefferson | 12 June, 2019, 07:27

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 previous year.

The outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

To prepare for the possibility of imported cases, Uganda has already vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers against Ebola and disease monitoring programs are in place, the WHO said.

The patient, a 5-year-old Congolese boy, has been isolated at a hospital in a district near the Congo border, Ugandan Health Minister Jane Aceng told reporters.

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Nearly 1,400 people have died of the disease since August.

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On Twitter, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, PhD, said the WHO was "contacting members of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee & asking them to be on standby". He was then transferred to an Ebola treatment unit-where the health care workers already have been vaccinated-in nearby Bwera.

In response to the confirmed case a rapid response team has been dispatched to Kasese to being contact tracing and "management of cases that are likely to occur". World Health Organization has advised against travel restrictions.

The north-eastern region of Neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo has been battling to control an Ebola outbreak since August 1 2018.

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

"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".

In April, Uganda health workers conducted a simulation to assess preparedness, in the event of Ebola spreading to the country.

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