Uganda on alert over DR Congo Ebola outbreak

2017-05-19 21:16:05 GMT2017-05-20 05:16:05(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

KAMPALA, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Uganda is on alert following anoutbreak of the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever in neighboringDemocratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), a top health official saidon Thursday.

Sarah Opendi, minister of state for health told Xinhua bytelephone that the country's National Health Task Force has beenreactivated.

The team met on Tuesday, discussed and agreed on all measures tobe taken following the Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, said Opendi.

She said health workers in Uganda's western border districtshave been put on alert to monitor people coming in from DRCongo.

"We have written to all District Health Officers to increase onsurveillance, raise public awareness and alert the people about theEbola outbreak" in DR Cong, said Opendi.

She urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspiciouscases to health workers for immediate attention.

She said the ministry of health is going to open an Ebolascreening desk at Entebbe International Airport, 40 km south of thecapital Kampala.

"We have minimal chances that the epidemic will reach herebecause the outbreak is far away from the borders," she said,adding "But we can't take chances" because of a lot of movementsbetween Uganda and DR Congo.

Ebola last broke out in Uganda in 2012, leaving over 20 peopledead.

The DR Congo health ministry on Friday confirmed the outbreak ofan Ebola epidemic in its northern province of Bas-Uele, with atleast one death.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range ofsymptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain ormalaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

Mortality rates of Ebola fever, according to the World HealthOrganization, are extremely high, with the human case-fatality rateranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on viral subtype.Enditem