Ebola makes much-feared jump into Uganda

Erika Holt
June 13, 2019

However, the Congo outbreak has proven hard to bring under control because of community mistrust and violent attacks on health care workers. Another suspect, a resident of Kyarumba Sub County, who was not in contact with the family has also been admitted.

· Avoid contact with blood and body fluids, items that may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids, body of someone who died of EVD and or meat from an unknown source.

The committee will discuss whether to advise the WHO to declare a global health emergency in response to the outbreak.

The boy had crossed from DRC into neighbouring Uganda with five family members on Monday evening, according to the Congolese health ministry.

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.

"This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon", said Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist and director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity which is involved in fighting Ebola.

The investigational vaccine being used in DRC and by health and frontline workers in Uganda has so far been effective in protecting people from developing the disease, and has helped those who do develop the disease to have a better chance of survival. More than 1,300 people have died since it began in August.

According to a health official who spoke to Reuters, the deceased crossed into Uganda last evening via Bwera Border post in the company of his mother. Some 3,500 doses of the vaccine have been shipped to the country, officials said. He cited the East African nation's experience battling previous outbreaks of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers.

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Authorities were working to determine how the boy's family managed to cross into Uganda after being exposed to the virus via a sick relative in Congo.

Congo's health ministry said a dozen members of the boy's family had showed symptoms of Ebola and were put in isolation.

This year, the WHO has documented 174 attacks on health care workers and facilities in Congo, causing 5 deaths and 51 injuries of health care workers and patients, Geneva-based spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Congo outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers, and WHO is shipping in another 3,500 vaccine doses this week for health workers and close contacts of those infected.

The outbreak is the 10th in the DRC since the disease was identified in 1976.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines can also become infected, and humans who kill and eat these animals can catch the virus through them.

The Red Cross said it was scaling up efforts to contain the spread of the virus since it was detected in Uganda.

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