Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Congo

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

A child in Uganda has tested positive for Ebola in the first cross-border case of the deadly virus since an outbreak started in neighbouring Congo past year, Uganda's health ministry said late Tuesday, in a blow to efforts by health workers who for months sought to prevent contamination across the heavily travelled frontier.

The WHO's emergency committee has met twice to weigh whether the DRC's Ebola developments should constitute a public health emergency of worldwide concern (PHEIC).

The health agency said in a statement on Tuesday that the boy had travelled with family from the DRC to Uganda on June 9.

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has said that the Ministry of health and World Health Organisation have sent a team to Kasese District to trace likely cases and vaccinate those who may have come into contact with the patient. Although the emergency operations center had good communication with emergency sites, there were roadblocks to communication with health workers at the health centers, points of entry and, in particular, the Ebola treatment units at 2 hospitals and the worldwide airport.

The child is now receiving supportive care at the Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit, and all contacts are being followed.

"All the other Congolese family members have been identified and are in isolation at Bwera hospital", said a spokesperson for the ministry, speaking on national television.

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The country's health ministry and WHO say they have dispatched a rapid response team to identify others at risk, a joint statement said. For the first time an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used, and Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers, WHO said. Uganda has previous experience managing Ebola outbreaks.

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

The disease is spread mainly through contact with the bodily fluids of those infected.

For 10 months, Uganda has closely monitored its porous border with the DRC for crossover cases, yet, despite numerous alerts, no cases have been detected until now.

In April, Uganda health workers conducted a simulation to assess preparedness, in the event of Ebola spreading to the country.

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