Kampala, Uganda — As Ugandans in urban centres head to the countryside for the festive season, the Health Ministry has warned of increased cases of Ebola in neighboring DRC and urged caution.
At least 55 new Ebola cases have been reported in DRC since December 1, 2019, prompting the Health Ministry to urge Ugandans to take extra precaution.
According to the World Health Organisation Ebola situational reports, the 55 cases mark an increase in the number of cases recorded compared to those in November, 2019. An average of seven Ebola cases were recorded in November in four Beni, Mabalako, Mandima and Oicha.
Health Minister, Dr. Ruth Aceng, says it is very important for people to take extra caution during this festive season as they celebrate the birth of Jesus with their relatives. "The Ebola outbreak is still on-going and as such Uganda remains at risk due to its proximity to DRC and the affected areas," Dr. Aceng said.
Beni is one of the health zones that have been affected by Ebola since the outbreak was declared in DRC in August, 2018. So far, more than 2900 people have succumbed to the disease. Beni is at least 500km from Uganda. According to the Health Ministry, among those infected are health workers, most of whom are traditional healers.
It is estimated that more than 2000 Congolese enter Uganda on a market day at different entry points. Dr. Aceng says that with such numbers, it's very important that people take precautionary measures.
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"We don't have any active cases of Ebola at the moment but we have to keep safe. We have vaccinated over 8,000 people but due to our porous borders, we have to remain vigilant," Dr. Aceng said.
The Health Ministry is carrying out screening at major points of entry at different border points and airport.