KAMPALA, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Health workers in the Ebola-hit eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have urged Uganda to control cross-border movement to contain the outbreak of the disease.
Uganda's Ministry of Health said here late on Tuesday that the health workers on the DRC side of the border have asked that the issue of frequent border crossings by people who have had contact with Ebola victims be addressed.
As first reported by DRC health officials, Uganda's Ebola index case was a five-year-old boy who had traveled back from the Ebola-hit eastern part of the DRC where he had gone with his mother to nurse a relative who had succumbed to Ebola.
The family has been put in an isolation unit and samples have been taken from two other members for Ebola testing, according to the ministry.
"The same night the family entered Uganda, the teams from (the) DRC alerted us of the presence of contacts of a deceased Ebola case who had crossed into Uganda and provided their names and telephone contacts," the ministry said.
Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda's health minister, announced the outbreak on Tuesday, saying the country has beefed up border surveillance.
"The ministry re-echoes its call on the general public to cooperate with the immigration, health and security officials to ensure effective screening at all entry points to prevent the spread of Ebola to other parts of the country," Aceng said.
She said a rapid response team of experts from the ministry, World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control is in the border district of Kasese, in the western region of Uganda, to support teams there in contact tracing and case management.
The outbreak in Uganda comes after 10 months of preparedness, the minister added.
According to the WHO, Uganda has vaccinated nearly 4,700 health workers in 165 health facilities, disease monitoring has been intensified and health workers have been trained to recognize symptoms of the disease.
Ebola last broke out in Uganda in 2012, leaving over 20 people dead.
Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through body contact with an infected person. Its symptoms include high fever, bleeding, diarrhea and red eyes, among others, according to the WHO.