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WHO considers declaring global emergency on ebola spread

UGANDA has confirmed the death of two people to Ebola disease, one is a 50-year-old woman and her five-year-old grandson on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively.

They are the first two cases reported in the country since the World Health Organisation affirmed on Tuesday the existence of Ebola virus in the country. Uganda now has put 27 people in isolation fearing that they might be infected with the disease, according to the health ministry on Thursday.

The WHO will consider on Friday whether the outbreak should now be deemed a public health emergency, according to BBC.

The WHO reported that the grandmother and grandson arrived from DR Congo on Sunday, while the boy fell sick on Tuesday. Taking to Kagando hospital of Uganda, the health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness. The child was transferred to an Ebola Treatment Unit for management where he later died that day. The following day, on Wednesday, the grandmother died.

Now five other family members of the deceased have been repatriated to DR Congo, while 27 people have been held in isolation while waiting to confirm their status with blood tests.

DR Congo has suffered an outbreak of Ebola since August 2018 where nearly 1,400 people have died, around 70 per cent of those infected, with increased cases in recent weeks.

Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, a UK-based biomedical research organisation said the current outbreak is “truly frightening”. He said the epidemic is the worst since 2016 and show no signs of stopping.

Experts will meet on Friday to consider whether to declare the Ebola epidemic in central Africa “a public health emergency of international concern”, said WHO.

Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, and a sore throat. It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding. People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

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