Ebola outbreak turning deadly in Uganda
A recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo made its way across the border to Uganda. They have confirmed three cases including the death of a 5-year-old boy who had the virus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ugandan health authorities, the Congolese boy had travel from Congo on Sunday and entered the Uganda with family and seek medical care. The other two cases confirmed are the boy’s 3-year-old brother and grandmother, 50. Both of them are currently being treated under isolation at the Bwera Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit, in the west of Uganda, said the country’s Ministry of Health.
"The young patient – 5- year-old index case of #Ebola died last night. Two more samples were sent to UVRI and have tested positive. We, therefore, have three confirmed cases of #Ebola in #Uganda"- @JaneRuth_Aceng https://t.co/oypAqpNZEW
— WHO Uganda (@WHOUganda) June 12, 2019
The Congo outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. Since August, more than 1,300 people have died. There has been a high concern that the infectious disease would cross the border, underscored by an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks.
Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome Trust (a UK medical reacher charity), stated that although Uganda was well-prepared for the disease, global health authorities should prepare for more cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries.
This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. There are now more deaths than any other Ebola outbreak in history, bar the West Africa of 2013-16, and there can be no doubt that the situation could escalate towards those terrible levels.” he said in a statement.
Uganda’s Health Ministry said that the boy and his grandmother has been vomiting blood, a severe symptom of Ebola, when they had presented themselves to doctors.
“Ebola is a horrific illness that ravages the human body. This first death, of a child, is a sickening reminder of the dangers of this disease.” said Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s country director in Uganda.
The World Heath Organization is more than likely to come under pressure to declare the outbreak an international health emergency. Back in April, the health body stated that it did not constitute a “public health emergency of international concern.”
WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern as “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”
Unlike the outbreak in West Africa that killed over 11,000 people, there are now vaccines and experimental treatments to help stop the spread of the disease. However, the Congo outbreak has proven difficult to bring under control due to community distrust and violent attacks on health case workers.
A step up in the national response with full international support is critical if we’re to contain the epidemic and ensure the very best protection for the communities at risk and for the health workers working to protect lives, this needs to be championed at the highest political levels, including at the UN and the upcoming G20.” said Farrar.