Ebola virus disease spreads to Uganda


The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed a case of Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda. Although there have been numerous previous alerts, this is the first confirmed case in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak on-going in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, WHO reports.

The confirmed case is a 5-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who traveled with his family on June 9, 2019. The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness. The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit for management.

The confirmation was made June 11 by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored.

The child was traveling with 4 other family members who are also ill and have been tested for Ebola. While the tests are still pending, 'the news will likely increase pressure on the WHO to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern,' said Helen Branswell, senior writer, infectious diseases and global health for Stat.

In response to this case, the Ministry is intensifying community education, psychosocial support and will undertake vaccination for those who have come into contact with the patient and at-risk health workers who were not previously vaccinated.

There are no confirmed cases in any other parts of the country.

Ebola virus disease is a severe illness that is spread through contact with the body fluids of a person sick with the disease (fluids such as vomit, feces or blood). First symptoms are similar to other diseases and thus require vigilant health and community workers, especially in areas where there is Ebola transmission, to help make diagnosis. Symptoms can be sudden and include: fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

Since the beginning of the current outbreak in August 2018 in the Democratic Rebulic of Congo, the accumulated number of cases is 2 071, including 1 977 confirmed and 94 probable (as of June 10, 2019).

In total, there were 1 396 deaths (1 302 confirmed and 94 probable) and 575 people cured.

There are currently 284 suspected cases under investigation.

This is the world's second deadliest Ebola outbreak after more than 11 300 people died in West Africa in 2014 – 16.

Featured image credit: CDC


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