Ugandan health officials confirmed the first case of the country's Ebola coming from a massive proliferation that was sinking to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo since August of 2018.
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday, June 11, that the case was in a 5-year-old male from the DRC who traveled with his family in Uganda on June 9. The child's case was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI) and he receives care of the Ebola Treatment Unit in the western Uganda town of Bwera, sitting at the DRC border.
Health officials fear the spread of the virus, which has worsened the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri of the DRC for almost a year. The provinces sit in the eastern part of the country, near South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. Until June 9, the WHO reported 2,062 cases (1,968 confirmed and 94 probable), including 1,390 dying (1,296 confirmed and 94 possible) in the uprising. This is the second largest Ebola outbreak in the record, only surpassed by the outbreak of West African 2014, involving more than 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.
Violent attacks and distrust in the community have been largely preventing responses to the unrestrained regional uprising. The militants injured health care workers and, in one case, killed a police officer. In February, Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) suspended medical responses after two attacks that left the treatment facilities burnt slightly.
With the potential for outbreaks to spread, Uganda has already been vaccinated by 4,700 health workers at 165 health facilities and strengthened surveillance. The experimental vaccine used in the outbreak is 97.5% effective in preventing viral diseases, preliminary data suggest. Ebola treatment centers, as in Bwera, are already set up. Additionally, the WHO has sent a Rapid Response team to monitor the boy's interactions and help respond.
In April, the WHO Emergency Committee has determined that the outbreak does not constitute Emergency Public Health of the International Concern, which would have freed more resources to address the spread of the virus. The WHO may consider the situation now that the virus is spreading to a border.