Ebola Threat Heightens Surveillance in Congo’s Eastern Neighbors

Monday, October 8, 2018
By Paul Martin

By William Clowes and Ignatius Ssuuna
Bloomberg.com
October 8, 2018

Latest outbreak has killed 113 people since early August
Violence and mistrust of health workers hampering containment

Rwanda and Uganda increased surveillance at their borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where instability is heightening the risk of an Ebola outbreak spreading.

The virus has killed at least 113 people since it was identified near Beni in east Congo in August, the highest toll since an Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Insecurity and the spread of the virus toward the Ugandan frontier led the World Health Organization to say last month there’s a “very high” risk of it crossing Congo’s borders.

“We have intensified our systems for health surveillance on our borders,” Ugandan Health Minister Sarah Achieng Opendi said by phone from the capital, Kampala. Anyone arriving from Congo is being screened and blood samples are being taken from those suspected of carrying the virus, she said. “Fortunately, all have tested negative.”

Rwanda has placed screening machines at its border posts with Congo and Uganda and urged its citizens not to travel to affected areas, said Fulgence Kamali, a spokesman for Rwanda’s Health Ministry.

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