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Yei on high alert after Ebola cases in Uganda



Health authorities in South Sudan’s Yei River State are on a high alert following the detection of Ebola cases in neighboring Uganda, an official said.

A 50-year-old woman and her five-year-old grandson died with Ebola in Uganda last week.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, the director general at the state ministry of health, Dr. James Wani said his ministry and partners are prepared to respond to any Ebola cases in the state, which borders Uganda.

No case of the disease, he added, has been reported in the country.

“We have preventive measures in place, including awareness on radio stations. We did mapping in the state and discovered 15 entry points from Uganda and Congo into South Sudan. 14 of them have screening points, but it’s difficult to control people coming from other informal routes,” said Wani.

On Thursday last week, South Sudan’s Ministry of Health launched an appeal for $12 million to boost the nation’s Ebola preparedness plan.

Meanwhile, several Yei River State residents expressed concerns that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda could spill beyond its borders.

Thomas Lasuba, a resident of Yei town, said that the free movement of civilians along the common borders with Uganda places lives of people at risk.

“We are in panic because of the outbreak of Ebola in Uganda and Congo because Yei River State is close to the borders of Uganda and Congo and we are at high risk of getting the disease,” he said.

“We are calling on the government to make the population aware of the dangers of the Ebola virus and they should ensure that there will be no any outbreak of Ebola in the country,” he added.

Another resident, Lemi Emmanuel, also expresses fears that the porous borders and the lack of screening centres at border points increase the chances of a possible Ebola outbreak in Yei River State.

He said several people arrive in the area daily, but are not screened for Ebola.

“These people are coming to the area through shortcut routes without access to Ebola screening. We are in fear because these people came from Congo and many are melting into the community without anything connected to Ebola search,” said Lemi.

He added, “There is no control at our border points and we want the government to issue clear directives to report new arrivals to the health authorities for Ebola screening. We are at risk because we are staying with unexamined people in the area”.

South Sudan suffered Ebola outbreak in 2004 after WHO reported 20 cases including 5 deaths from Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) in Yambio.

Ebola is a rare, but deadly viral disease that causes fever, body aches, diarrhea and sometimes bleeding inside and outside the body.


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