Uganda announced two more cases of Ebola on Wednesday, confirming the first spread of a deadly outbreak beyond the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This comes following the death late Tuesday of a 5-year-old boy who had contracted Ebola.
The two new confirmed cases include the 50-year-old grandmother and 3-year-old brother of the deceased, according to Uganda’s Ministry of Health.
The family is currently being monitored in isolation, a Ugandan health official said.
This latest news is expected to put pressure on the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
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.
“Two more samples … have tested positive,” the World Health Organization 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.”
Uganda’s Ministry of Health has reassured Ugandan’s that steps are being taken to contain the disease.
Uganda’s health minister was traveling to the Ugandan border town of Kasese where the boy had been treated, a health ministry spokesman said.
Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commended Uganda’s Mistry of health for their quick response.
I commend @MinofHealthUG for responding quickly to the identification of a case of #Ebola. #Uganda has experience managing #Ebola and has been preparing for months for this eventuality. This kind of experience and preparedness is vital to prevent the further spread of the virus. pic.twitter.com/gGmzYG8T8M
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 12, 2019
The current Ebola epidemic began in August last year in eastern Congo and has already infected at least 2,062 people, killing 1,390 of them.