By Opija Raduk

The Ugandan Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed a case of Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda.

The confirmed case is of a 5-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who travelled with his family on 9th June 2019.

The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness.

The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) for management.

The confirmation was made on Tuesday by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored.

“The confirmation was made by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored,” the WHO Uganda office said in a tweet.

Uganda has been on high alert since the outbreak across a porous border in the eastern DRC, where more than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been recorded, two-thirds of which have been fatal.

The Ministry of Health and WHO have dispatched a rapid response team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk, and ensure they are monitored and provided with care if they also become ill.

Uganda has previous experience managing Ebola outbreaks. In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated nearly 4700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including in the facility where the child is being cared for); disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognizing symptoms of the disease.

In response to this case, the Ugandan Ministry of Health is intensifying community education, psychosocial support and will undertake vaccination for those who have come into contact with the patient and at-risk health workers who were not previously vaccinated.

Ebola is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines can also become infected, and people who kill and eat these animals can catch the virus through them.

Experts say Ebola symptoms include high fever, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat which are often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, internal and external bleeding.

The investigational vaccine being used in DRC and by health and frontline workers in Uganda has so far been effective in protecting people from developing the disease, and has helped those who do develop the disease to have a better chance of survival. The WHO strongly urges those who are identified as contacts to take this protective measure.

Kenya is currently holding an Ebola drill at its Namanga border with Tanzania. The drill that started on June 11 will end this Friday 14th. Contact: