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DR Congo Ebola outbreak: Child in Uganda diagnosed with virus

12 June 2019

At that point the child was transferred to an Ebola Treatment Unit in Bwera.

The case in Uganda was a 5-year-old Congolese boy who had crossed the border to seek medical treatment, the World Health Organization and Uganda's Health Ministry said in a joint announcement Tuesday.

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).

Worldwide spread of a disease as contagious as Ebola is one of the major criteria WHO considers before declaring a situation to be a global health emergency.

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In response to the confirmed case a rapid response team has been dispatched to Kasese to being contact tracing and "management of cases that are likely to occur". The Uganda Virus Institute confirmed the diagnosis Thursday, according to a press release from the WHO. There, a dozen family members appeared to have symptoms and were transferred to an isolation centre at the local hospital for observation.

Results of these tests will be known tomorrow, said Uganda's ministry of health. In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated almost 4 700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including in the facility where the child is being cared for); disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognising symptoms of the disease.

Officials from the two countries will meet on Wednesday about the possibility of sending the family back to Beni in Congo for treatment, the health ministry said.

Uganda has been on high alert since the outbreak in the eastern DRC, where more than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been recorded, two-thirds of which have been fatal.

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Uganda accepts refugees from Congo, and many health workers felt that despite their best efforts, spread of the virus to Uganda had just been a matter of time.

The East African nation has had multiple outbreaks of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers since 2000.

As the number of cases has increased, so has the concern that the infectious disease would cross the border.

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DR Congo Ebola outbreak: Child in Uganda diagnosed with virus