Uganda fears the Ebola epidemic after the death of the Congolese fish merchant


A Ugandan health worker prepares to administer the ebola vaccine to a man in the village of Kirembo, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Kasese district, Uganda, on June 16, 2019. REUTERS / James Akena / File Photo

GENEVA – A Congolese woman who died of Ebola this month threw up four times in a Ugandan market after crossing the border a few days earlier to sell fish, said WHO, raising fears that the virus could spread beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The current epidemic of highly infectious diseases has been almost completely limited in the Congo, killing 1673 people – more than two thirds of those who have contracted – in the last year and three in Uganda last month .

A jury of the World Health Organization is discussing whether to declare the epidemic "of international scope", a designation that the head of the agency suggested a case this month in the great Congolese city of Goma, had made more likely.

The angler crossed the border with the Mpondwe market on July 11, according to a report by the Ugandan Ministry of Health published Wednesday by the WHO.

It was said that 19 peachers were listed as if they had possible contacts with her while 590 others could be targeted for vaccination.

The response to the health of the virus depends on tracking down and testing people who may have been exposed to it and vaccinating them and anyone who has had contact with them.

Ugandan and Congolese officials were working to find people who may have been put at risk by the dead woman, who appeared to have used an illegal border crossing, health ministry spokeswoman Emmanuel Ainebyona said.

So far "no one has been judged positive for the Ebola virus. The team is still monitoring the tested traders," he said. The report said that health workers had not established where the fishmonger spent the nights, who transported the goods and who cleaned the vomit.

The Ministry and WHO reported that there are currently no confirmed Ebola cases in Uganda.

The emergency committee of the international experts of the WHO met on Wednesday for the fourth time to assess whether the 11-month epidemic constituted an international public health emergency (PHEIC) and will announce its decision to 1700 GMT.

A PHEIC statement would be only the fifth in the history of the WHO and would include recommendations for international action. It could also help unlock the necessary funds.

Last month the commission decided that the potential interruption of the risk declaration risked causing economic damage without obtaining anything.

But the head of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week that the case in Goma was a potential turning point, since it means that the Ebola could now spread between the urban population and neighboring Rwanda.

A separate report from the WHO cited a very high risk for the Arua district in Uganda, which borders a Congolese area in which an Ebola patient died after having contacted over 200 people. Two deaths in Arua were under investigation.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.