Mozambique Stepping Up Surveillance Against Ebola

(file photo).

Maputo — The Mozambican Health Ministry has announced that it is strengthening epidemiological surveillance on the country's borders to detect any possible cases of ebola.

These measures follow the outbreak of ebola in the Kivu-North and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where there have been 2,671 diagnosed cases and 1,790 deaths since 2018.

A statement from the National Directorate of Public Health said that, although Mozambique is not on the list of high risk countries, the Health Ministry is monitoring the evolution of the epidemic in Congo, and any eventual outbreaks in neighbouring countries.

The Ministry warned all passengers travelling to or from areas affected by ebola "to comply strictly with basic hygiene measures, and to avoid direct contact with blood, faeces, vomit and other body fluids of patients or persons suspected of being infected with ebola".

The Ministry also recommended avoiding the consumption of meat from wild animals such as monkeys and antelopes (since ebola results from a virus that is known to jump species).

On 17 July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared ebola an international public health emergency. The risk of transmission is regarded as high within the DRC itself, and moderate in the countries bordering the DRC (such as Uganda, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Angola, Burundi and Tanzania).

For other countries in the region, including Mozambique, the risk is regarded as low. No restrictions have been imposed on travel or trade between Mozambique and the DRC.

There had been claims that ebola might spread to Mozambique via Malawi, but the Malawian health authorities have guaranteed that there have been no cases of ebola reported in Malawi, and none of the Malawi Defence Force troops stationed in the DRC have been infected with the disease.

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