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Africa CDC calls for enhanced Ebola virus surveillance, control measures in Uganda

Uganda battling the threat of a new round of Ebola.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Xinhua | Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the specialized healthcare agency of the African Union (AU), has called on Ugandan authorities to intensify surveillance and control measures as the country reported an outbreak of Ebola virus disease.

The Africa CDC made the call after Uganda on Tuesday declared an Ebola virus disease outbreak in Mubende district in the central part of the country, following a confirmed case in Mubende regional referral hospital.

“The Africa CDC recommends to all neighboring and affected districts to enhance their disease surveillance and laboratory testing, implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures,” it said in a statement issued late Tuesday.

It called for heightened target risk communication and community awareness about the disease prevention and control measures and emphasized that it will work closely with all at-risk neighboring districts, member states, and partners to coordinate and align emergency preparedness and response activities across the region.

The agency noted that investigations regarding the possible sources of infection and list contacts are going on, in which preliminary investigation reports have revealed six unexplained community and health facility deaths in the same district.

Noting that a team of experts from the Africa CDC Regional Coordinating Center (RCC) and headquarters have been deployed to the Uganda Ministry of Health, the Africa CDC said it is preparing to deploy more experts to support contact tracing and outbreak investigation in the affected region.

The AU Commission, through the Africa CDC, said it will continue to work with the health authorities in Uganda to deploy more emergency response support, supplies and equipment as needed.

According to local authorities, a person was admitted to Mubende regional referral hospital on Sept. 15 after presenting Ebola symptoms and died on Sept. 19.

Six other deaths are being investigated after local communities reported people dying after strange illnesses.

Last month, Uganda intensified surveillance on its western border after the World Health Organization announced an Ebola case in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The ministry said the risk of disease spread was high in 21 bordering districts.

Uganda has had more than five Ebola outbreaks in the last two decades, mostly along its western regions close to the DRC, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes various symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise, and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

According to the WHO, the fatality rate for those who contract Ebola ranges from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on the viral sub-type.

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