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Ebola death toll rises to 168 in DRC, Uganda on full alert

Tests on Ugandan feared to have died of symptoms similar to that of Ebola, have come out negative

Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | As the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rose to 168, Uganda continued to be on full alert, stepping up surveillance after announcing that tests had shown that the epidemic had not crossed the border.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) team in Kasese, South Western Uganda, Saturday confirmed that a suspect who died this week with symptoms similar to that of Ebola, did die from other causes.

WHO in Uganda said in a statement that “results from the Lad tests at UVRI turned out negative. There’s no suspected or confirmed Ebola case in Uganda.”

“We are glad the tests turned out negative. However we maintain high level vigilance,” said Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Uganda

The WHO team had a day earlier been notified of a patient who died “suddenly” in Bwindi Hospital in Kanungu district with unclear cause of death.

The patient was a Ugandan who was taken to the hospital quite ill and was bleeding. The patient is reported to have died a few hours after arrival at the hospital.

A team from Kasese (Bwera) consisting of a burial team of 5 people together with one Lab personnel (to help in sample collection) was dispatched to Kanungu.

A sample was collected and sent to the lab at Uganda Virus Research Institute for testing. The results from the Lad tests at UVRI turned out negative.

In mid-October, Congolese authorities said they were facing a “second wave” of the outbreak centred on Beni, a town in North Kivu near the border with Uganda.

The epicentre had earlier been focussed on Mangina, a town around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Beni.

In total, 266 cases had been recorded in the region, of which 231 were confirmed and 35 were probable, since the start of the outbreak at the beginning of August, the Congolese Health Ministry said in a bulletin dated Friday.

On October 17, the World Health Organisation said the death toll stood at 139, although it said the outbreak did not yet merit being labelled a global health emergency.

The second wave of the deadly virus has been attributed to community resistance to measures already taken to tackle the disease.

On Thursday, around 1,000 students marched through the streets of Beni to launch a campaign to fight Ebola.

Since a vaccination programme began on August 8, over 22,000 people have been innoculated, of whom around 11,000 were in Beni, the health ministry said.

An Ebola treatment centre in the city now had more than 60 beds, it added.

The latest outbreak is the 10th in DR Congo since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.









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