Ebola kills child in Uganda as two new cases confirmed

Ebola spreads to Uganda in its first cross-border case since outbreak

Uganda and the wider East Africa region have been on high alert over Ebola since the virus emerged in the DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces in August previous year.

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome Trust, a United Kingdom medical research charity, said that while Uganda was well-prepared to cope with the disease, global health authorities should be ready for more cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries.

In its weekly situation report, the WHO said the boy identified as Uganda's first patient and his mother are from Uganda and had been in the DRC's Mabalako health zone, where they attended the burial of the boy's grandfather, who had died from Ebola in the community on Jun 1. The boy was then put in isolated care, and "rapid response teams" have been sent to the surrounding area to follow up with potential contacts of the boy and his family. "The team in Bwera has done a commendable job, the Ebola treatment unit is running on course and the district is working in a streamlined manner with the partners", the minister added.

Uganda's health minister was travelling to the Ugandan border town of Kasese where the boy had been treated, a health ministry spokesman said.

The WHO expert committee has twice decided that this outbreak, while of "deep concern", is not yet a global health emergency. There, a dozen family members appeared to have symptoms and were transferred to an isolation centre at the local hospital for observation. Two of his relatives also tested positive for the virus, in the first ever cross-border case.

Congo has been experiencing an outbreak since last summer.

Six more people died from Ebola, two in community settings and four in Ebola treatment centers.

The north-eastern region of Neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo has been battling to control an Ebola outbreak since August 1 2018.

This year, the WHO has documented 174 attacks on health care workers and facilities in Congo, causing five deaths and 51 injuries, Geneva-based spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

But Ugandan health teams "are not panicking", Henry Mwebesa, a physician and the national director of health services, told The Associated Press.

The boy, part of a Congolese family who crossed into Uganda earlier in the week, died overnight, the World Health Organization said.

This outbreak is the second largest on record after a West Africa epidemic in 2013-2016 infected 28,000 people and killed 11,300, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Resistance by residents wary of authorities has hurt containment efforts in an outbreak where an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used for the first time.

Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through body contact with an infected person.

Uganda is more stable than eastern Congo, and it has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers. While Uganda is well-prepared, Farrar said, "we can expect and should plan for more cases in (Congo) and neighboring countries".

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