By Asma’u Ahmad
The Government of Uganda has resumed Ebola screening for all arrivals from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the border between the two countries was reopened.
The border was closed last Sunday for balloting in DRC’s presidential elections. Uganda’s ministry of health spokesperson, Emma Ainebyona, said that
their staff members were already stationed at all crossing points to carry out screening.
“Uganda remains on high alert following the elections in DRC yesterday. “The Ministry of Health, together with its partners, will continue its Ebola screening at all border points and airports to ensure the Ebola virus do not spread into Uganda,” Ainebyona said.
“We maintain high surveillance and active case search in the community. There is no confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda,” the spokesperson added.
Parts of Eastern DRC are currently facing an outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever.
The highly contagious Ebola virus causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalised pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding, according to the World Health Organisation.
The latest outbreak is the 10th in DR Congo since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.
The DRC’s deadly Ebola outbreak is now the second largest in history, behind the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a
few years ago, according to the WHO.
The UN health body confirms 426 cases, with 198 deaths reported since August, as DRC struggles to contain the disease.
WHO’s emergencies chief, Dr Peter Salama called it a ‘sad toll’ as DR Congo’s health ministry announced the number of cases has reached 426.
“The good is we have a vaccine now. But the problem is, working in such an unstable area, you have to assure to safety of the `vaccinators’, and you have to be able to trace potential contacts, and get them vaccinated.”
West Africa’s Ebola outbreak killed more than 11,000 people from 2014 to 2016.
More than 37,000 people have received Ebola vaccinations, and DR Congo has begun the first-ever trial to test the effectiveness and safety of
four experimental Ebola drugs.
Ebola is a serious infectious disease that can spread rapidly through small amounts of bodily fluid, causing internal bleeding and potentially death.
DR Congo had been in the throes of a major campaign ahead of the December election to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila,
who had ruled the vast central African country since 2001.