Ministry of Health experts have rolled into action after confirmation of an Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Kasese District, western Uganda.
‘The confirmed case is a 5-year-old boy who traveled from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with his mother on Monday, June 10, 2019,” said Health Minister Ruth Aceng in a statement on Tuesday night.
“The mother is of Congolese origin but married to a Ugandan and they reside in Kasese district. However, she had traveled back to DRC to nurse her father who succumbed to Ebola,” the Minister added.
The mother and child were accompanies to Uganda by four other family members who are all of Congolese origin including the wide of the deceased,
The child and his family entered the country through Bwera border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital as the child was not feeling well by the time they came into Uganda.
Aceng said the child presented with several Ebola symptoms such as vomiting blood, bloody diarrhea, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and abdominal pain.
The same night the family entered Uganda, the teams from DRC alerted Ugandan authorities of the presence of contacts of a deceased Ebola case and provided their names and telephone contacts.
The Congolese authorities expressed their worry and requested for a cross border meeting with Ugandan officials to further address the frequent crossing over of contacts in Uganda.
Aceng said the Ministry responded by alerting all health facilities to be on “alert” and information of Ebola contacts were provided to health workers.
“The child was detected by health workers at Kagando hospital with signs and symptoms of Ebola and transferred and isolated at Bwera Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit for further management,” said Aceng.
“A blood sample was drawn and sent for testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UNVRI) very early on the morning of June 11, the sample tested positive for Ebola,” she added.
This is the first case of Ebola recorded in Uganda in recent years since the scourge broke out in Eastern DRC.
Aceng said all other Congolese family members have been identified and are in isolation at Bwera hospital.
Two of them had their samples removed when they developed symptoms similar to that of Ebola and are being tested by specialists. So far, eight contacts have been listed and are being followed up.
Aceng revealed that the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have dispatched a Rapid Response Team to Kasese to support the teams in contact tracing and case management.
The Ministry, WHO and CDC will undertake ring vaccination of contacts to the case and other non-vaccinated frontline health and other workers beginning Friday, June 14, 2019.
The public has since been urged to cooperate with immigration, health and security to “ensure effective screening at all entry points to prevent the spread of Ebola to other parts of the country” and also report suspected cases on toll-free number 0800-203-033.