South Sudan on high alert as Ebola reported in DRC

South Sudan on high alert as Ebola reported in  DRC

The Ministry of Health has said it is on high alert as three Ebola cases have been confirmed in the bordering country the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the Chief of Planning for the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre Mabior Kiir, the suspected Ebola patients were identified in Butsili, DRC.

 “We have eight cases; three confirmed and three probable, meaning that these three cases have not yet been confirmed through laboratory tests,” he told The City Review yesterday. Mabior said the case of fatality rate for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) stands at 75 per cent.

Two of the cases have been put under observation in an isolation centre designated by the Ministry of Health in DRC.

“Four of the five cases have a link with the one [person] that has just passed on. The contacts who became suspects are isolated at the facility in Butsili North Kivu, DRC,” Mabior said.

He revealed that two suspected cases have also been identified in Uganda.

He said: “One is in Mbarara Regional Hospital and then the other one is in Arua Regional Hospital. They are still suspects and we are waiting to hear the outcome of the investigations.”

Surveillance stepped up

Mabior admitted that the suspected Ebola cases have triggered the alarm and the national Ministry of Health has stepped up surveillance.

“This is an alarming situation because all our borders are opened to these two countries that are exposed to this risk,” he said.

The National Ministry of Health has deployed task forces to respond to suspected cases. Health workers, surveillance officers and state coordinators were trained on EVD and refreshment training has been organised to best respond to the latest threats.

Mabior outlined the national EVD response strategy. They include: 72 – hour contingency plan, updating the national contingency plan and reviving the hotline,   beefing the country’s capacity to detect and respond to EVD and pre-positioning village health promoters.

Guidelines in place The Ministry of Health is reassessing EVD readiness and preparedness using the WHO template.

“There are templates that are developed by WHO to meet the standard of response. We are reassessing so that they meet the standard which is needed by WHO,” Mabior said.

The Ministry of Health is also updating the national EVD preparedness and response plan and also mobilising resources to support the implementation to enhance EVD preparedness.

The Ebola virus is a fatal disease whose symptoms include unusual bleeding, a high fever, a severe headache, muscle discomfort, weakness, and vomiting. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as an infected person’s blood.

From 2013 to 2016, the world’s biggest Ebola epidemic killed over 11,300 people in West Africa as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.