A child in Uganda has tested positive for Ebola in what is the first cross-border case of the deadly virus since an outbreak started in neighbouring Congo previous year, Uganda's health ministry said late Tuesday, in a blow to efforts by health workers who for months sought to prevent contamination across the heavily travelled border.
A five-year-old boy infected with the virus came to Uganda with his parents from the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 9.
"In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated almost 4,700 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", the joint statement said, using an abbreviated form of Congo's formal name. "The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care", the World Health Organization wrote on Twitter. "The confirmation was made today by the #Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI)".
To prepare for the possibility of imported cases, Uganda has already vaccinated almost 4,700 health workers against Ebola and disease monitoring programs are in place, the WHO said.
The ministry said Tuesday the patient is a Congolese woman in a district near the Congo border.
Efforts to contain the disease have been hampered by ongoing violence in the region, including attacks on health workers.