Published: Wed, June 12, 2019
Medical | By

DRC Child carries Ebola virus into Uganda

DRC Child carries Ebola virus into Uganda

In a hastily organized press conference at 9 pm on Tuesday, minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng said the confirmed case is of 5-year-old boy who'd travelled with his mother to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to nurse her father who succumbed to Ebola.

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 WHO's country office for Uganda said that after crossing the border, the group sought care at a hospital in Kagando, where health workers recognized the boy was likely infected with Ebola. The outbreak is unfolding amid unprecedented challenges of rebel attacks and community resistance in a region that had never experienced Ebola before. The Congolese Health Ministry told WHO that the family was traveling from Mabalako.

Uganda has vaccinated almost 5,000 health workers at 165 health facilities, including both the one where the boy is being treated, and the one at Kagando where his family first stopped for care. The child was later transferred to Bwera Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit.

Officials from the two countries will meet on Wednesday about the possibility of sending the family back to Beni in Congo for treatment, the health ministry said. "The ministry of health and WHO have dispatched a rapid response team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk", WHO said.

Congo's health ministry said on Monday that it has recorded 2,062 cases, including 1,390 deaths, since the epidemic began in August.

Ebola virus disease is a severe illness that is spread through contact with the body fluids such as vomit, blood and faeces of a person sick with the disease.

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.

Uganda has had multiple outbreaks of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers since 2000.

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