Uganda confirms Ebola case as virus spreads from DRCongo

This Tuesday, April, 16, 2019 file photo taken in Congo shows an Ebola health worker at a treatment center in Beni, Eastern Congo. (AP)
Updated 12 June 2019

Uganda confirms Ebola case as virus spreads from DRCongo

  • Symptoms include high fever, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat which are often followed by vomiting and diarrhea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure

KAMPALA: A five-year-old boy is being treated for Ebola in Uganda, the first case since a deadly outbreak in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo 10 months ago, Health Minister Ruth Aceng said Tuesday.
Uganda has been on high alert since the outbreak across a porous border in the eastern DRC, where more than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been recorded, two-thirds of which have been fatal.
“An Ebola case has been confirmed positive,” Aceng told AFP.
She said the patient was a boy who had traveled with his family from the western Ugandan town of Kasese to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a funeral, and fell sick upon his return.
“The boy has been taken into isolation unit as have other family members for monitoring. He is receiving treatment,” she said.
The World Health Organization confirmed the highly contagious virus had spread to Uganda, in its second-worst outbreak ever.
“The Ministry of Health and WHO have dispatched a Rapid Response Team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk, and ensure they are monitored and provided with care if they also become ill,” the WHO said in a statement.
According to the WHO, Uganda vaccinated nearly 4,700 health workers in 165 facilities with an experimental drug designed to protect them against the virus.
Uganda has experienced several outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012, while in 2000 more than 200 people died in an outbreak in the north of the country.

The DRC has struggled to contain the outbreak which was first recorded in North Kivu province on August 1 and then spread to neighboring Ituri and has left over 1,300 dead.
Efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered both by militia attacks on treatment centers and by the hostility of some local people to the medical teams.
Five workers have been killed, according to an AFP tally, and important preventative work, such as vaccination programs and burials of Ebola victims, has been delayed.
The outbreak is the 10th in Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease was identified in 1976.
It is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014-2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.
“It is clear the current response to tackle Ebola isn’t working. No matter how effective treatment is, if people don’t trust or understand it, they will not use it,” Oxfam’s director for the DRC, Corinne N’Daw, said last week.
“Our teams are still meeting people on a daily basis who don’t believe Ebola is real... many cases are going unnoticed because people with symptoms have been avoiding treatment.”
Ebola is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads among humans though close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.
Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines can also become infected, and humans who kill and eat these animals can catch the virus through them.
Symptoms include high fever, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat which are often followed by vomiting and diarrhea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, internal and external bleeding.
At present there is no licensed drug to prevent or treat Ebola although a range of experimental drugs are in development and thousands have been vaccinated in the DRC and some neighboring countries.
The average fatality rate from Ebola is around 50 percent, varying from 25 to 90 percent, according to the WHO.


UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated 34 min 44 sec ago

UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots
  • The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 elected members

UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly adopted a new voting procedure Friday for the upcoming election of new members of the Security Council aimed at preventing a large gathering and ensuring social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of meeting in the horseshoe-shaped assembly chamber at U.N. headquarters overlooking New York’s East River, ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots.
And they will be voting not only for five non-permanent members of the Security Council to serve two-year terms but for 18 new members of the 54-nation Economic and Social Council to serve three-year terms.
According to the new procedure, the president of the General Assembly will send a letter to all member states at least 10 working days before the first round of secret balloting for the two elections to inform them of the date, venue where ballots should be cast, and other relevant information.
The Security Council election had been scheduled for June 17, but it’s unclear whether that will remain the date.
The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Five countries are elected every year.
The council is the U.N.’s most powerful body and winning a seat is a pinnacle of achievement for many countries because it gives them a strong voice on issues of international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, and attacks by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
This year seven countries are vying for five seats, and there are two hotly contested races.
In the group of Western nation, Canada, Ireland and Norway are battling for two seats, and in Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are competing for one seat. India is running unopposed for the Asia-Pacific seat and Mexico is running unopposed for the seat for Latin America and the Caribbean.