Uganda confirms Ebola outbreak

At a hastily organised press conference late on Tuesday evening, the Minister of Health Dr Ruth Achieng confirmed an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease at the border town of Bwera, Kasese district in Western Uganda.

The confirmed case is of a three-year-old boy, Allan Bwambale from Masambu in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The boy reportedly travelled with his mother to attend burial of his grandfather in Beni, DRC, who was suspected to have died of Ebola.

“The boy started feeling fever two days ago with abdominal pain, joint pains and vomiting. Temperature on admission was 38.2. Samples were drawn and taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and results from the lab have tested positive for Ebola,” Achieng said.

The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness.

“The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) for management. The confirmation was made today by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored,” Achieng said.

This is the first confirmed Ebola case in Uganda that has for some time been ravaging parts of eastern DRC.

The Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation  (WHO) have since dispatched a rapid response team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk, and ensure they are monitored and provided with care if they also become ill.

A joint statement by both the Ministry of Health and WHO indicates that nearly 4700 health workers in 165 health facilities in Kasese have been vaccinated while disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognizing symptoms of the disease.