BY RITAH KABANYORO
Uganda has been on high alert since the start of the Ebola outbreak in DRC in August 2018. More than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been recorded, including 1,357 deaths, in eastern DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces.
On 11 June 2019, Uganda announced that three people had been positively diagnosed with Ebola, the first cross-border cases since the outbreak began.
On 14 July, the first case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, the capital of North Kivu, and a city of one million people. The patient, who had travelled from Butembo to Goma, was admitted to the MSF-supported Ebola Treatment Centre in Goma. After confirmation of lab results, the Ministry of Health decided to transfer the patient to Butembo on 15 July, where the patient died the following day.
In reaction to the first case found in Goma, on 17 July 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that
the current Ebola outbreak in DR Congo represents a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared their tenth outbreak of Ebola in 40 years on 1 August 2018. The outbreak is centred in the northeast of the country. With the number of cases passing 2,500, it is now by far the country’s largest-ever Ebola outbreak. It is also the second-biggest Ebola epidemic ever recorded, behind the West Africa outbreak of 2014-2016.
Authorities have confirmed an Ebola case not far from the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) border with South Sudan, a country with a healthcare system weakened by years of civil war, making it vulnerable to the potential spread of the deadly virus.
The case was registered in the town of Ariwara, situated in northeastern Ituri province and about 70km from the border with South Sudan’s Yei River State, according to a report from South Sudan’s health ministry that was viewed on Tuesday by The Associated Press news agency.
The victim, a 40-year-old woman, had travelled nearly 500km from Beni, in North Kivu province in the DRC, despite having been identified by health officials as having been exposed to Ebola and warned not to travel.
It is the closest confirmed case to South Sudan since an outbreak began in North Kivu last August before spreading to neighbouring Ituri, according to an official with close knowledge of the outbreak who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
People who have come into contact with Ebola patients should be monitored for 21 days, the incubation period during which symptoms can emerge after exposure. Long-distance travel, particularly to regions bordering other vulnerable countries, is not recommended.
Fears of regional transmission
More than 2,200 Ebola cases have been confirmed since the virus re-emerged, and more than 1,500 people have died, according to the latest figures from the DRC’s health ministry.
Two fatal cases were reported in Uganda last month, marking the first confirmed cross-border cases of the virus in the current epidemic and prompting major fears the outbreak could be about to enter a new phase of wider regional transmission.
The individuals were part of a family that travelled to the DRC, where the two victims contracted the virus, before returning to Uganda.
A five-year civil war in South Sudan has killed nearly 400,000 people, displaced some four million others and put pre-existing poorly-equipped medical facilities under increased strain.
Uganda areas neighbouring South Sudan and Congo have been on high risks of Ebola.
379 kilometers lays Bidibibi, a refugee settlement site in Yumbe district, West Nile region. It is the second largest hosting country after Kutupalong in Cox’s,Bangladesh.
Bidibidi refugee settlement site seats on 250 Square Kilometers and is a home to more than 227,000 South Sudan nationals that migrate from South Sudan, part of this number is comes from Democratic Republic of Congo among other countries
Bidibidi refugee settlement is divided into five (5) zones.. however there area is now alert after 2 Ebola suspected case.
“ Fortunately the results of Ebola suspects were negative after screen tests,” said Dr. Ronarld Lubega, the Health manager in Bidibidi.
According to Doctor Ronarld Lubega, Health Manager, International Rescue Committee, IRC-Bidibidi, the porousness of the Ugandan boarders sometimes increase the risks of Ebola in the country. Yumbe district is earmarked category 2 after Kasese because some refugees enter through the border of Democratic Republic of Congo.
As Ebola remains a threat, Ugandans are urged to keep alert and report any cases with symptoms in relation to Ebola, including bloody diahorria, bleeding from gums, and bleeding from skin(purport).