Uganda confirms 1st Ebola case outside outbreak in Congo


A first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Uganda, a five- year-old Congolese child who is receiving care after arriving on Sunday from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Confirmation of cross-border contamination is a blow to local health officials who have been monitoring the border and isolating probable Ebola patients.

While health officials have focused on the far deadlier hemorrhagic Ebola virus concentrated in DRC's east, some 87,000 suspected cases of measles have been reported across the vast central African country in the first four and a half months of this year. The outbreak is unfolding amid unprecedented challenges of rebel attacks and community resistance in a region that had never experienced Ebola before. But worldwide spread is one of the major criteria the United Nations agency considers before such a declaration.

Ministry of health has confirmed Ebola outbreak in Kasese District in western Uganda.

The infected child crossed into Uganda with his family in Bwera, near the Congolese city of Butembo. 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.

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In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC that has claimed at least 1390 lives, Uganda has vaccinated over 4700 health workers in 165 health facilities.

Preparing for possible cases of Ebola, Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers, disease monitoring has been intensified, special treatment units set up and health workers have been trained to recognize symptoms of the disease, WHO said.

The boy was accompanied by his Ugandan father and Congolese mother, who had returned to Congo to nurse her father before he died of Ebola, Uganda's Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a news conference.

Ebola virus disease is a severe illness that is spread through contact with the body fluids such as vomit, blood and faeces of a person sick with the disease.

Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers, WHO said.