Ebola outbreak spreads outside Congo, WHO says

Grant Boone
June 12, 2019

Uganda's health ministry said the boy and his relatives, including his mother - a Congolese woman married to a Ugandan man residing in Kasese - had travelled to DRC before returning to Uganda on June 10.

A five-year-old boy infected with the virus came to Uganda with his parents from the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 9.

"Although there have been numerous previous alerts, this is the first confirmed case in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak on-going in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo", WHO said.

In April an expert committee of the WHO decided that Congo's outbreak, while of "deep concern", was not yet a global health emergency. But global spread is one of the major criteria the United Nations agency considers before such a declaration. The Ugandan Ministry of Health and the WHO have dispatched a rapid response team to the area. "The confirmation was made today by the #Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI)".

Congo's health ministry in a separate statement said the boy, from Mabalako, arrived on Monday at Congo's Kasindi border post.

In anticipation that Ebola cases would be identified in Uganda, preparations have been underway.

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It was not immediately clear how the family members were able to cross the border, where millions have travellers have been screened for Ebola since the outbreak began.

As of June 9, the World Health Organization reports 2,062 cases (1,968 confirmed and 94 probable), including 1,390 deaths (1,296 confirmed and 94 probable) in the outbreak.

The outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

Efforts to contain the disease have been hampered by ongoing violence in the region, including attacks on health workers.

The boy and his family crossed the border Sunday, and the case was confirmed at a rural hospital.

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