The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been raging for months, has spread to the neighboring country Uganda.
First Case Of Ebola Reported In Uganda
On Tuesday, June 11, health officials in Uganda confirmed that a 5-year-old boy, who traveled across the border from DRC with his family a few days earlier, has been tested positive of Ebola. The boy died on the morning of June 12.
His 50-year-old grandmother and 3-year-old brother were also infected. The grandmother succumbed from the disease on June 13. The rest of the family, including the sick 3-year-old boy, were sent back to DRC.
There is currently zero confirmed cases of Ebola in Uganda, according to the health officials. However, three people who are not related to the boy are being held in isolation at a treatment facility in the town of Bwera, which sits at the border of DRC. The three unidentified individuals are being treated as suspected cases after they came in contact with the deceased 5-year-old.
In an update on Thursday, June 13, the Health Ministry warned that at least 27 other people might have been infected after interacting with the two confirmed and three suspected cases of Ebola in Uganda. Because symptoms do not come out after several days, these people might have spread the virus without knowing.
Uganda On The Look Out For Ebola Infection
As such, Uganda's public health officials remain in "Ebola response mode." Responders will begin ring vaccinations this week in an effort to prevent new cases in the country. The DRC has donated 400 Ebola vaccines to Uganda. The World Health Organization also sent 4,000 additional doses to thwart the further spread of the disease.
Since the outbreak has been declared in Central Africa in August, Uganda has adopted measures to prevent the virus from crossing their border. The government runs public health information campaigns at high-risk areas to warn residents. Public gatherings have also been canceled. Market days in the town Kasese, which draws around 20,000 people near the border, have been banned by the authorities.
About 4,500 health workers have received vaccinations. There are Ebola screening centers along the major entry and exit points, including the border with DRC.