Uganda: Screening At Entry Points Intensified As Ebola Hit Congo

A UN representative and DR Congo officials examine the impact of the virus in 2014.

Kampala — Uganda has started screening of all travellers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of signs and symptoms of Ebola, following the outbreak of the viral haemorrhagic fever in the neighbouring country.

A total of 17 in DRC were Wednesday pronounced dead after suffering from Ebola, a day after the disease outbreak was confirmed by WHO in Bikoro town, 1945 kilometers away from the Ugandan border of Mpondwe in the Western district of Kasese.

Dr Henry Mwebesa the acting director general at the Ministry said the passengers are currently required to complete a screening form, an information leaflet about Ebola and contact numbers of surveillance officers are given to all non-symptomatic passengers who may require letter.

"A private Medical Center within the Airport has been equipped to provide counselling and clinical screening of all suspects. A standby Ambulance with a driver and relevant protective has been provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is available twenty four-seven," Dr Mwebesa said in a press statement.

The statement further stated that the Ministry has instructed leaders in the districts of Kampala, Wakiso, Kisoro, Kanungu, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Hoima, Bulisa, Nebbi, Arua, Maracha, Koboko, Kibaaleand Kabbala to reactivate the District Task Forces in preparation for any possible outbreak.

Believed to be spread over long distances by bats which can host the virus without dying, as they infect other animals with which they share trees, such as monkeys, Ebola also spreads to humans through infected bush meat.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of Uganda's export destinations in Africa with most of the trade between the two countries done at the three major border points of Mpondwe in Kasese district, Bunagana in Kisoro and Goli in Nebbi.

As such, there are fears that the daily interaction of people from the two neighbouring countries would make it easy for the disease to spread to Uganda faster.

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