The Ebola virus has reached Uganda

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The Ebola virus has reached Uganda

Deutsche Welle

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The Ebola virus has reached Uganda
The Ebola virus has reached Uganda. picture-alliance/AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro
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Ebola has reached Uganda. A 5-year-old boy vomiting blood has become the first cross-border victim of the virus; another two family members tested positive for the highly contagious disease that has killed more than 1,400 in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Uganda’s Minister of Health Ruth Acieng confirmed the existence of Ebola in the area. “We have three confirmed cases here in the Ebola treatment unit, the 5-year old who tested positive passed away. Right now his grandmother and his brother have also tested positive, bringing us to a total of three confirmed cases. We have 7 suspects.” The Congolese boy and his family sought medical care at Kagando Hospital after entering Uganda through the Bwera border post.

Congo’s health ministry said a dozen members of the boy’s family had shown symptoms of Ebola while in DRC. They were told to remain where they were staying until transport was found to take them to an Ebola treatment unit in Beni, Dr. Dominique Kabongo, coordinator of the Ebola response teams in Kasindi, told AP. Despite this, half of the family quietly crossed into Uganda, while five of those who remained have tested positive for Ebola since being taken to Beni, the health ministry said.

More undetected cases possible

Medical professionals believe that there might be other cases, as many people are crossing into Uganda from DRC using unofficial border points. They are fleeing due to rebel activities in eastern DRC, hampering virus containment work. Francis Iwa, the executive director of the NGO Care For Forced Immigrants told DW that many people use the dense forests on the borders between Uganda and DRC to cross. “The authorities in DRC block access for these individuals through designated entry points where there are screening facilities for Ebola”, he told DW. “It forces many individuals to cross into Uganda through porous entry points. That’s a problem as you cannot track who is coming into the country.”

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