Almost a year after the first patient was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Ebola virus has finally jumped across the border into Uganda. Earlier this week, at least two people in Uganda died from Ebola. Investigators believe they had recently traveled to the DRC, however, according to a report from Al Jazeera, medical detectives working on the current Ebola outbreak are finding it difficult to pinpoint the sites of infections in about half of all patients.
Some experts who have been tracking the outbreak, which is the second largest in history, claimed the jump across the border was inevitable, since the outbreak was concentrated near the border. Yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday the situation still does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The organization also recommended against any travel and trade restrictions with the DRC.
“It was the view of the Committee that the outbreak is a health emergency in DRC and the region but does not meet all the three criteria for a PHEIC under the IHR (International Health Regulations),” said the WHO is a statement. “While the outbreak is an extraordinary event, with risk of international spread, the ongoing response would not be enhanced by formal Temporary Recommendations under the IHR.”
The WHO did recommend that population movement mapping and emergency preparedness in the region continue. However, a sobering report from the Associated Press released on Saturday indicated that Ugandan healthcare workers lack supplies and infrastructure necessary to effectively treat the virus, and things such as personal protective equipment are being doled out in very small numbers.