Enlarge / A health worker puts on protective gears as he prepares to screen travelers at the Mpondwe Health Screening Facility in the Uganda's border town of Mpondwe as they cross over from the Democratic Republic of Congo, on June 13, 2019. Getty | Isaac Kasamani

Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has sickened 2,084 and killed 1,405 since last August.

Uganda announced its first case stemming from the outbreak on Tuesday, June 11. The case was in a 5-year-old Congolese boy who traveled across the border with family a few days earlier. The Ugandan Health Ministry reported shortly after that the boy succumbed to his infection the morning of June 12. Two of his family members also tested positive by that time: the boys 50-year-old grandmother and his 3-year-old brother.

Today, June 13, the Ministry announced that the grandmother had also passed. In an urgent meeting over the situation, officials from Uganda and the DRC mutually decided to send the remaining family back to the DRC. That includes the 3-year-old boy with a confirmed case, as well as the mother, father, a 6-month-old sibling, and their maid. Health officials noted that the latter four family members are all considered “suspected cases.”

With the infected 3-year-old back in the DRC, there are zero confirmed cases currently in Uganda, health officials said. However, there are three people unrelated to the family who had contact with the deceased 5-year-old and are now considered suspected cases. They are being held in isolation at an Ebola Treatment Unit in the western Ugandan town of Bwera. It sits at the border with DRC and is where the 5-year-old was being treated.

Officials have identified 27 others who had contact with either the deceased boy or the suspected cases.

As such, Uganda remains in “Ebola response mode,” the ministry said. The DRC donated 400 doses of Ebola vaccine and Ugandan responders plan to begin ring-vaccinations on Friday, June 14, and this effort aims to immunize case contacts and contacts-of-contacts to try to strategically thwart the spread of the disease. The World Health Organization flew in 4,000 additional doses of vaccine, which is 97.5 percent effective according to preliminary data.

Also on Friday, the WHO will reconvene an Emergency Committee to assess whether the outbreak now constitutes a “public health emergency of internaRead More – Source

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Ars Technica

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