KAMPALA – A grandmother in Uganda has died on Thursday, days after her five-year-old grandson after they both contracted Ebola.
More than 1,400 people have been killed by the disease in the northeast of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Ministry of Health of Uganda confirmed a new death from the virus in its borders, which brings the total fatalities to two with at least three other confirmed cases in the country.
All the detected cases in the country were from the same Congolese-Ugandan family who traveled to DRC and managed to return home to the Kasese district after dodging border health checks.
The boy died on Wednesday morning at an Ebola treatment unit in Bwera, in the west of Uganda.
His three-year-old brother is also being treated for the disease.
Ugandan health authorities said there could be another possible case, from which tests have been sent to a laboratory.
Six other members of the family, who did not to cross the border, have been transferred to an Ebola treatment center in Beni, one of the main urban centers in the northeast of the DRC.
Five of them have already tested positive for the disease.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Ebola had crossed the border of the DRC, where it has caused 1,405 deaths (1,311 confirmed in a laboratory), in 2,084 cases.
The disease swept through the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, according to a statement from the Congolese Ministry of Health on June 11.
The DRC previously announced that it has sent 400 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, an experimental treatment that is currently being used, and that vaccination will begin on Friday.
A joint meeting between delegations from the two countries was held on Wednesday and it was agreed to strengthen surveillance at the points of entry and exit on the border, especially in secondary networks, which were used by the family to pass.
An expert committee from the World Health Organization is due to meet on Friday to assess whether to raise the level of global risk for the disease, which is currently “low.”
This outbreak was declared on Aug. 1 and is the most lethal in the history of the DRC and the second worst in the world, after an epidemic in West Africa in 2014.
Control of infection has been undermined by the refusal of some communities to receive treatment and insecurity in the area, where a hundred armed groups operate, with an increase of attacks on Ebola sanitary equipment and other Ebola patients.
The most devastating Ebola outbreak worldwide was declared in March 2014, with cases dating back to December 2013 in Guinea, where it spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Almost two years later, in January 2016, the WHO proclaimed the end of that epidemic, in which 11,300 people died and more than 28,500 were infected, figures that could be conservative, according to the UN.
The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood and contaminated body fluids.
It causes hemorrhagic fever and can reach a mortality rate of 90 percent if not treated in time.