What you need to know:
- Information from the WHO indicates that Uganda has had four Ebola Virus Disease outbreaks in 2000, 2014, 2017, and 2018. The biggest and most deadly was in 2000, which registered 425 cases and 224 deaths.
The Health ministry has intensified surveillance at border points after a 46-year-old woman died of Ebola in North Kivu, DR Congo.
Dr Allan Muruta, the commissioner in charge of epidemics at the Ministry of Health, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the risk of disease spread is high in 21 Ugandan districts, which border DR Congo.
“We have Kasese, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kanungu, Kisoro, Zombo and other districts in the western border that are at risk. We are screening at vetted points of entry,” Dr Muruta said.
He added: “We are also working with the authorities in DR Congo to monitor the contacts of the victim because they are quarantined.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa region announced the death after health authorities in DR Congo declared a resurgence of Ebola.
According to the WHO, the woman died on August 15 in Beni, a town in North Kivu, just 92 kilometres from Kasese District.
The WHO said their team and local health authorities in DR Congo have identified 160 contacts whose health is being closely monitored.
The deceased received care at the Beni Referral Hospital, initially for other ailments, but subsequently exhibited symptoms consistent with Ebola virus, the WHO said. Laboratory tests confirmed that she had the disease.
“Ebola resurgences are occurring with greater frequency in DR Congo, which is concerning. However, health authorities in North Kivu have successfully stopped several Ebola flare-ups and building on this expertise will no doubt bring this one under control quickly,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
The agency said investigations are ongoing to determine the vaccination status of the confirmed case.
Dr Muruta said they are sensitising health workers and residents about the identification of Ebola symptoms and prevention of the disease.
The symptoms of the disease include high temperature, headache, joint and muscle pain, soar throat and severe muscle weakness.
The WHO said analysis showed that the case was genetically linked to the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces—the country’s longest and largest.
Information from the WHO indicates that Uganda has had four Ebola Virus Disease outbreaks in 2000, 2014, 2017, and 2018. The biggest and most deadly was in 2000, which registered 425 cases and 224 deaths.
The death of the woman in DRC happened the same day when the WHO started a five-day training in Kampala to increase the capacity of health workers in five countries, Uganda inclusive, to respond to infectious diseases such as Ebola.
Dr Charles Njuguna, the head of health emergencies at the WHO Uganda country office, said the five countries in east and southern Africa were being trained in case management.
“We need to know that in the African region, we have had outbreaks of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs) such as Ebola and Marburg. Some of them are going on even right now as speak. So, we need to prepare other countries to respond in case of any event,” he said.