Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Uganda, at high risk for Ebola, starts vaccinating medics

An electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell NIAID NIHAn electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell
Celia Hoffman | 07 November, 2018, 19:26

The deadly Ebola virus has infected 300 people in Congo since an outbreak erupted nearly two months ago in the country's east, the health ministry said on Tuesday. They say unofficial border crossings also are a cause for concern.

Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said if the Ebola outbreak becomes endemic in the Congo's North Kivu province, it shows "we've lost the ability to trace contacts, stop transmission chains and contain the outbreak".

The death from Ebola of a young Ugandan physician in 2000, one of more than 200 people killed in that outbreak, sparked a national outpouring of grief and helped spread awareness of how Ebola is transmitted.

Besides militia attacks that have hindered health workers, the region's high population density and movements across the borders to Uganda and Rwanda pose additional risks that the highly lethal fever disease could spread in the region.

More news: What we learned from Duke’s big win over Kentucky

DRC is facing its 10th Ebola outbreak, but this epidemic, which broke out in August, is the country's first in an area where fighting is ongoing.

The World Health Organization, CDC and other global health organizations say they are anxious about the current Ebola outbreak spreading to port cities like Butembo, which will only exacerbate infection transmission rates.

The WHO said last month that Congo's outbreak does not yet warrant being declared a global emergency but called for an "intensified" response. Since 2014, about 2,000 people have been killed in clashes between armed groups.

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