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Ebola screening intensified in Albertine region

FILE PHOTO: Ebola screening at the border has been stepped up.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health Experts have intensified Ebola screening in the Albertine region following a new death recorded in Kasese district. Districts in the Albertine graben share a common border with the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area that has been devastated by the deadly Ebola Virus over the last one year.

The area records hundreds of people entering the country from DRC on a daily basis through the districts of Hoima, Buliisa, Kagadi and Kikuube.

Buliisa District Health Officer Dr Nelson Naisye told Uganda Radio Network that screening has been intensified at Wanseko and Butiaba screening centres, where DRC nationals entering the district are received. He adds that the district Ebola task force team is on high alert.

Hoima District Disease Surveillance Officer Dr Fred Kugonza calls on the public to be vigilant and report any suspected cases to health personnel immediately. Kugonza adds that all the screening centres in Kaiso, Sebigoro and Buhuka have been fully equipped with the necessary health personnel and gadgets to handle any suspected cases.

Kagadi District Health Officer Dr James Olwo says the district has a fully-fledged Case Management Team that is on standby to asses and monitor any Ebola suspects.

Hoima District Health Officer Dr Joseph Ruyonga expressed concern over some illegal landing sites on the Lake Albert shores where some of the DRC nationals land at any time without being screened. Ruyonga calls on the government to establish more screening centres to ensure that whoever is entering the country through the Lake Albert is screened.

The Ministry of Health confirmed an Ebola outbreak in the country after a 9-year-old girl was identified during screening at the Mpondwe border crossing where she presented with high fever, body weakness, rush and unexplained mouth bleeding.

The victim who had travelled to Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC to reportedly receive treatment for Ebola was admitted to the Ebola Treatment Unit at Bwera Regional Hospital, where she died early today.

This is the fourth confirmed case of Ebola since the deadly disease was declared in DRC in August, 2018.  The first three cases included two boys and their grandmother who had previously travelled to DRC to bury a relative.

To date, more than 2,000 people have been affected by the disease. The outbreak has since been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by WHO. The confirmed case comes at a time when Uganda’s Ebola response plan is hanging in balance due to a lack of finances.

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