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 past 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.
"All the other Congolese family members have been identified and are in isolation at Bwera hospital", said a spokesperson for the ministry, speaking on national television.
Confirmation of cross-border contamination is a blow to local health officials who have been monitoring the border and isolating probable Ebola patients.
Congo's health ministry said on Monday that it has recorded 2,062 cases, including 1,390 deaths, since the epidemic began in August.
The news will likely to increase pressure on the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of global concern. The Uganda Virus Institute confirmed the diagnosis Thursday, according to a press release from the WHO.
The child's family sought medical care at Kagando hospital and the child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit for management, the World Health Organization said.
The WHO and ministry of health in a statement noted that they jointly dispatched rapid response teams to the area in a bid to ensure the virus is contained.
Ugandan Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a news conference on Tuesday that the boy's family members are being monitored, including two who have exhibited Ebola-like symptoms.
Ebola virus disease is a severe illness that is spread through contact with the body fluids such as vomit, blood and faeces of a person sick with the disease. The child was later transferred to Bwera Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit.
For the first time an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used, with more than 130,000 doses distributed.
Uganda has had multiple outbreaks of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers since 2000.
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