KAMPALA, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Uganda is on alert following an outbreak of the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), a top health official said on Thursday.
Sarah Opendi, minister of state for health told Xinhua by telephone that the country's National Health Task Force has been reactivated.
The team met on Tuesday, discussed and agreed on all measures to be taken following the Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, said Opendi.
She said health workers in Uganda's western border districts have been put on alert to monitor people coming in from DR Congo.
"We have written to all District Health Officers to increase on surveillance, raise public awareness and alert the people about the Ebola outbreak" in DR Cong, said Opendi.
She urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious cases to health workers for immediate attention.
She said the ministry of health is going to open an Ebola screening desk at Entebbe International Airport, 40 km south of the capital Kampala.
"We have minimal chances that the epidemic will reach here because the outbreak is far away from the borders," she said, adding "But we can't take chances" because of a lot of movements between Uganda and DR Congo.
Ebola last broke out in Uganda in 2012, leaving over 20 people dead.
The DR Congo health ministry on Friday confirmed the outbreak of an Ebola epidemic in its northern province of Bas-Uele, with at least one death.
The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.
Mortality rates of Ebola fever, according to the World Health Organization, are extremely high, with the human case-fatality rate ranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on viral subtype. Enditem