Health in Africa

Now, Ebola case surfaces in Uganda

Five-year-old child who travelled from Democratic Republic of the Congo to Uganda, down with  disease

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 12 June 2019
Photo: Gettty Images
Photo: Gettty Images Photo: Gettty Images

The first case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been reported from Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on June 11.

A five-year-old child, who had travelled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Uganda last week, was admitted to a local hospital. Staff at the hospital suspected that the child had Ebola, which was later confirmed by the Uganda Virus Institute.

Uganda has seen a number of alerts for Ebola cases earlier but all proved to be negative. The country’s giant neighbour, the DRC, is currently in the throes of an ebola outbreak.

In September 2018, the WHO had said countries bordering the DRC were at risk of transmission of EVD. These included Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

The reasons why EVD could spread were the transportation links between the affected areas in DRC and these countries, the internal displacement of populations and also, the displacement of Congolese refugees to these places.

The Ugandan administration has vaccinated around 4,700 health workers and also has intensified disease monitoring in order to prevent the disease from spreading.

According to the WHO, EVD spreads through contact with the body fluids of an infected person. These include vomit, faeces or blood. Initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscular pain, headache and sore throat emerge.

In affected countries, all those who come in contact with an Ebola patient, are vaccinated and monitored for 21 days.

The Ebola epidemic started in 2013 and has killed more than 11,000 people in countries like Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and DRC. Latest reports warn that the virus is mutating and becoming deadlier.

Two studies in 2016 have confirmed this. The first was done by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

It examined the genome of the virus at different stages and discovered that people dying in later outbreaks were targeted by a more virulent strain.  This was also the conclusion of another study conducted by Jonathan K Ball of the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

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