Ebola has spread to Uganda

A man having his temperature checked in eastern Congo.
A man having his temperature checked in eastern Congo. Photo credit: Reuters

Uganda has announced two more cases of Ebola - confirmation of the first spread of a deadly outbreak beyond the borders of Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Ugandan cases showed the epidemic was entering a "truly frightening" phase and was likely to spread further and kill many more people, one infectious disease specialist told Reuters.

Emergency medical teams and Uganda's health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, were travelling on Wednesday to the border area where a five-year-old boy who contracted Ebola died late on Tuesday.

He had just crossed the border from Congo with his family who were now being monitored in isolation, a Ugandan health official said.

"Two more samples have tested positive," the World Health Organisation agency said on Twitter, citing the health minister and bringing the total tally of confirmed cases to three.

"This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon," said Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist and director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity which is involved in fighting Ebola.

"We can expect and should plan for more cases in DRC and neighbouring countries," he said, adding: "There are now more deaths than any other Ebola outbreak in history, bar the West Africa Epidemic of 2013-16, and there can be no doubt that the situation could escalate towards those terrible levels."

The current Ebola epidemic began in August last year in eastern Congo and has already infected at least 2062 people, killing 1390 of them.

The viral disease spreads through contact with bodily fluids, causing hemorrhagic fever with severe vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding.

This outbreak is the second largest on record after a West Africa epidemic in 2013-2016 infected 28,000 people and killed 11,300, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Reuters