Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Congo

Baz Ratner  Reuters FILE

Baz Ratner Reuters FILE

A five-year-old boy is being treated for Ebola in Uganda, the first case since an outbreak in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo 10 months ago, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday.

"In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including in the facility where the child is being cared for); disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognizing symptoms of the disease", the joint statement said, using an abbreviated form of Congo's formal name. "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. Since the epidemic began in August in eastern Congo, the Congo health ministry said on Monday that it had recorded 2,062 cases including 1,390 deaths.

The disease is spread mainly through contact with the bodily fluids of those infected. 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. Congo has been experiencing an outbreak since last summer.

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According to the WHO, Uganda vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers in 165 facilities with an experimental drug created to protect them against the virus.

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

In a statement on Tuesday, medical charity Doctors Without Borders called for "a massive mobilisation of all relevant national and global organisations in order to vaccinate more children and treat patients" affected by measles.

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