Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

Uganda and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday confirmed a child has been diagnosed with Ebola, the first cross-border case from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a large outbreak has raged for the last 10 months.

Surveillance for ebola virus disease at the border between DR Congo and Uganda | Photo: Matt Taylor

Although there have been numerous previous alerts, this is the first confirmed case in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak on-going in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The confirmed case is a 5-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who travelled with his family on 9th June 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 today by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored.

Dr. Mike Ryan, who heads the WHO’s emergencies program, said the meeting will likely occur within the next day or two, after the agency consults with the governments of Uganda and DRC.

Ryan said Uganda and partners have been working for months to protect the border area against just this type of event. “It’s never good news to have Ebola,” he said, but suggested the preparatory work should help contain the threat.

The Ministry of Health and WHO have dispatched a Rapid Response Team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk, and ensure they are monitored and provided with care if they also become ill. Uganda has previous experience managing Ebola outbreaks.

In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated nearly 4700 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. Ebola Treatment Units are in place.

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Categories: Diseases

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