Here is how Uganda and Nigeria are preparing for the Ebola outbreak

The deadly disease has crossed from DR Congo to Uganda where it has already killed two people.

Health official screens travellers crossing Uganda's border to prevent Ebola outbreak

Following the Ebola outbreak, which began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 2018, health officials say it has infected 2,084 people and killed 1,405.

It is now the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history with no end in sight.

Claire Manera, a field coordinator for the international humanitarian non-profit Médecins Sans Frontières, told Euronews: "Just in the last few months, we've had 1000 new cases so it's accelerating at a very intense speed now."

Ebola crosses DR Congos border

Now, the virus has spread from DR Congo to Uganda where it has already killed two people - a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother. The third Ebola patient, the boy's 3-year-old brother, is being treated for the virus near the border.

They all travelled together from the DRC, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed on Thursday.

This is the first time the outbreak crossed DRC's border to Uganda, however, authorities say they have been preparing for this moment. 

Reportedly, nearly 4,700 health workers in 165 health facilities have been vaccinated. Health workers have also set up Ebola treatment units to isolate and care for the sick.

Nigeria prepares for Ebola

Following this disturbing development, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is also preparing itself for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak.

On June 13, 2019, the centre signed a joint declaration of intent with Germany's national public wellbeing institute, Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

According to the Head, Communications of the NCDC, Jeremiah Agenyi, the new Nigeria Centre for Disease Control: Capacity Development for Preparedness and Response for Infectious Diseases (NiCADE) project will investigate viral infections like Ebola and Hepatitis E.

RKI President, Dr Lothar H. Wieler, says he believes this partnership will help strengthen Nigeria's health security.

"The partnership between NCDC and RKI is a mutually beneficial opportunity for national public health institutes to collaborate towards global health security. It greatly demonstrates the fact that countries are mutually dependent on one another for health security," he said.

Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist and director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, believes more African countries need to be prepared for the worst.

This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping. We can expect and should plan for more cases in DRC and neighbouring countries,” he said. “There are now more deaths than any other Ebola outbreak in history, bar the West Africa epidemic of 2013-16, and there can be no doubt that the situation could escalate towards those terrible levels.”

Meanwhile, WHO's Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for an IHR Emergency Committee meeting. 

This meeting, which takes place today, June 14, will determine whether the outbreak should officially be declared a "public health emergency of international concern."

This declaration will lead to a more aggressive response to the outbreak, which could involve travel restrictions.


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