The deadly Ebola virus that claimed several lives in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is spreading towards Uganda, the Ministry of Health has warned.
This was revealed by Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Director General, Ministry of Health on Friday during the 3rd Grande Annual Doctors Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala.
“The latest information is that we have 344 cases of Ebola in DR Congo and this is a place that is very close to our borders. Initially, we were talking about 100kms, but of late it has come even closer to 50kms from our border and in fact recently, we had 2 people that died exactly at the landing site of L. Albert on the other side of Congo,” Dr. Mwebesa said.
While detailing the ebola risk Uganda faces, Mwebesa pointed at Ugandans close to the Congo border, but warned that this shouldn’t make those far away from the border relax.
He said experts haven’t ruled out the risk of people in Kampala and Wakiso contracting the virus, calling for more vigilant campaigns to avert the risk.
“Ebola doesn’t known borders so as a country we are at a very high risk. We had 202 deaths [in Congo] as of yesterday..” Mwebesa noted.
He stated that the Ministry has embarked on vigorous preventive measures to ensure Ebola doesn’t make its way into Uganda, and assured Ugandans that on top of putting up treatment centres, the health teams have the ‘capacity’ to treat any Ebola case.
“We must develop a very high degree of suspicion because we may be focusing at the borders, but you know the airport is open and this puts areas of Kampala and Wakiso at a very high risk too. So you [doctors] may at any time be confronted by a patient and you may be treating malaria when it’s actually Ebola,” he added.
He urged Ugandans to ignore ‘fake news’ about the outbreak of Ebola in Uganda, noting that the Ministry has tested over 300 cases since the outbreak of the disease in DR Congo, but all these have turned out as negative and no case has been registered in Uganda.