South Sudan raises Ebola alert

Congolese officials and the World Health Organization officials wear protective suits as they participate in a training against the Ebola virus near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Samuel Mambo

South Sudan said on Thursday it has intensified Ebola surveillance in response to a suspected case of the disease being reported in the South West Lanya area of Yei River region near the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Mathew Tut, director of the public health emergency operations center (PHEOC), which is coordinating Ebola surveillance and response, said they tested samples collected from a 30-year-old male hunter from Loka in Lainya County who died recently after suffering symptoms similar to Ebola virus.

Tut said the results were confirmed negative.  The UN World Health Organization has deployed a rapid response team to support the packaging and transportation of the sample to Juba which was later on sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

“The result came and it was negative and there is ongoing surveillance and rapid response. We are sending more personnel to Yei, Yambio to do more awareness,” said Tut.

On Nov. 6, the deceased complained of generalized body pain, headache and fever and later on started vomiting blood and watery diarrhea and that upon arrival at the Lainya hospital, the patient was put on IV Quinine, Tramadol and IV Ringers Lactate in the ward.

However, he continued to vomit blood more than seven times and diarrhea continued and he became irritable. He passed away on Nov. 11 at around 3 a.m. local time.

Tut disclosed that preliminary findings at PHEOC laboratory initially tested negative before being sent to Uganda for further testing.

South Sudan has increased Ebola alertness and response in the Yei, Yambio areas which border Uganda and DR.Congo respectively.  Close to 200 people have died in the most recent Ebola epidemic in DRC.