Ebola Outbreak Hits Closer Home

Ebola Outbreak in Uganda

A five-year-old said to have traveled from DRC Congo on Sunday to Uganda has been diagnosed with Ebola, as confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is the first case ever to be reported in Uganda and the boy was admitted to a Ugandan hospital after exhibiting symptoms including vomiting blood.

Ever since the outbreak began in August in eastern Congo, the Congo health ministry said on Monday that it had recorded 2,062 cases including 1,390 deaths. Most of which have been fatal.

Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, and a sore throat. It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding. People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, feces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI) diagnosed Ebola and confirmed its existence before it was announced officially to the public on Tuesday. Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a news conference on Tuesday that the boy’s family members are being monitored, including two who have exhibited Ebola-like symptoms. The country’s health ministry and WHO say they have dispatched a rapid response team to identify others at risk, a joint statement said.

About 4,700 health workers in Uganda have been vaccinated against the disease, according to a joint statement by WHO and Ugandan health officials.

Ministry of Health, WHO, and partners are responding to the outbreak and working to enhance illness surveillance and reporting, monitor contacts, conduct cross-border surveillance in neighboring countries, expand laboratory capacity, and vaccinate front-line health workers and contacts of people with Ebola.

The epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016,  killed 11,310 people. Only once before has an outbreak been still growing more than eight months after it began. Ebola outbreak in DR Congo has become the second biggest in history, with a significant spike in new cases noted in recent weeks.

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