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Xmas Travelers to Western Uganda Warned as Ebola Intensifies Near Congo Border

Ministry of Health has come out to caution Ugandans traveling to the western part of the country to be mindful of the Ebola threat that still persists in this region.

The Ministry in a joint statement with World Health Organization on Sunday, said those heading to the high risk district should take extra caution and “observe utmost vigilance during the festive season.”

Uganda has up to 24 districts that border the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has borne the brunt the world’s second largest Ebola epidemic on record, that has gone on for nearly one and half years.

More than 2200 people have lost lives to the virus and 3300 infections have since been confirmed.

Efforts to contain Ebola have been largely hampered by the   civil strife in the DRC as the national army and UN peace keepers continue to clash with the Ugandan rebel group ADF and other militias scattered in the eastern part of the country.

And while inroads have been made in reducing the spread, in this month of December, new Ebola cases registered have increased unexpectedly.

According to the Health Ministry and WHO, since December 1st, about 55 new cases have been confirmed in four health zones including Beni, Mabalako, Mandima, and Oicha.

“This represents a substantial increase compared to the average of 7 confirmed new cases in November,” the ministry said in the statement.

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The ministry therefore warned officials in the districts neighboring DRC to be on a higher alert.

The district that share the Congolese border are; Ntoroko, Kasese, Bundibugyo Bunyangabu, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Rubirizi, Kikuube, Hoima, Kampala and Wakiso (air transport).

Others are Arua, Maracha, Nebbi, Zombo, Yumbe, Moyo Adjumani, Koboko, Lamwo, Kabale Kamwenge Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Isingiro Buliisa Kagadi and Pakwatch.

The ministry says it has communicated to these high risk districts, to continue heightened surveillance and handle alert cases.

Uganda has been running Ebola screenings at all entry points and airports, with now a total of 8million people have been screened so far.

Nearly 8000 people have received the Ebola vaccine, most of whom are frontline health workers.

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