Tanzania at high risk of Ebola outbreak as 2 killed in Uganda: minister

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World Health Organization (WHO) officials and Ugandan health workers inform the community of Kirembo village, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, about Ebola vaccine, in Kasese district, Uganda June 15, 2019. REUTERS/James Akena
World Health Organization (WHO) officials and Ugandan health workers inform the community of Kirembo village, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, about Ebola vaccine, in Kasese district, Uganda June 15, 2019. REUTERS/James Akena

Tanzanian Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu warned on Saturday that the east African nation was at high risk of an outbreak of the Ebola after the virus killed at least two people in neighboring Uganda.

Following the reported outbreak of Ebola in Uganda, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Mwanza regional authorities have deployed health staff to all entry points with Uganda, including those along Lake Victoria, to monitor people entering the country, said Mwalimu.

Uganda’s health ministry said on Thursday that the second person infected with the Ebola virus has died after a family exposed to the disease quietly crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“Tanzania is at high risk of the Ebola virus outbreak and we are doing all we can to respond to the outbreak,” said Mwalimu in an interview with Xinhua from Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria.

She said she has ordered relevant authorities to fix Ebola scanning machines at Mwanza Airport, the country’s second largest airport, in three days’ time.

Seneth Lyatuu, Mwanza Airport Acting Manager, had told the minister that the airport which received travelers from the DRC and Uganda has only two old and dilapidated scanners for screening Ebola.

“We are receiving passengers from Uganda and DRC where there is Ebola outbreak so we need modern scanners if we are to control Ebola outbreak in the country,” said Lyatuu.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in the DRC does not qualify as an international threat, despite the spread of the virus to neighboring Uganda carried by an infected family.

Ebola spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

The current outbreak is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.

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