Kenya reassures public after Ebola false alarm

Phillip Cunningham
June 20, 2019

The Ebola crisis that has raged for 10 months in the Democratic Republic of Congo and spread last week to Uganda is not a "public health emergency of global concern" (PHEIC), the World Health Organization's advisory committee has declared, in a decision that baffled some critics.

The minister began a tour of the frontier regions on Saturday to assess the measures in place at ports and border posts to deal with potential incoming Ebola cases.

The boy together with his younger brother and grandmother who were the first three confirmed Ebola cases in Uganda have since died. She further said: "We should do whatever that is possible to put a pause to this outbreak and make preventions of other deaths". But the nation remains on high alert after two Ugandans who had travelled to the DRC died of Ebola last week.

The World Health Organisation cites mistrust of authorities in Congo, with attacks on healthcare workers and patients avoiding treatment centres, as major factor in the failure so far to contain the Ebola outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Uganda confirmed two samples had tested positive for Ebola.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: 'News of an Ebola case confirmed in Uganda is tragic but unfortunately not surprising.

The DRC declared its tenth ever outbreak of Ebola last August in northeastern North Kivu province.

Ms Aceng said: 'We have three cases of Ebola confirmed.

A woman and her children wait to receive Ebola vaccinations, in the village of Mabalako, in eastern Congo Monday, June 17, 2019. Initial analysis suggests that Uganda is at a much lower risk for outbreak than the neighbouring DRC, where almost 1400 people have died from the disease since April 2018.

"We do not need to panic over what has been reported because we are making sure to screen everyone who comes into the country through our border points", she said. "Our fear is that once we are there we become victims of the situation", one humanitarian worker said.

Health care workers in this outbreak now have the benefit of an experimental-but-effective Ebola vaccine that is being used widely, with more than 130,000 doses distributed.

The head of the committee, Preben Aavitsland, told reporters in Geneva that current Ebola crisis was "an extraordinary event, with risk of global spread, (but) the ongoing response would not be enhanced" by an emergency declaration.

After meeting with Ugandan officials here, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said via Twitter that "this has been an incredible meeting where I have got an opportunity to learn, with pleasure, that, the ministry of health is on top of the Ebola response in Uganda with enormous support from the partners".

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