KAMPALA: A five-year-old boy in Uganda has died from Ebola, the health ministry announced Tuesday.
The death is the first in Uganda, amid a deadly outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Officials said that his grandmother and younger brother also have the disease.
More than 2,000 cases have been recorded in DR Congo in the last 10 months – most of which have been fatal.
The boy is said to have travelled across the border with his family from DR Congo on Sunday.
He was then taken to a Ugandan hospital after exhibiting symptoms, including vomiting blood, officials said.
Two relatives of the boy had tested positive for Ebola, officials said.
The World Health Organization (WHO), citing Uganda’s Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng, announced on Twitter that the boy died on Tuesday.
The health ministry and the WHO said a rapid response team had been diaptached to identify others at risk and to follow up on eight other possible cases.
Uganda has already vaccinated about 4,700 health workers against the disease, according to a joint statement by WHO and Ugandan health officials said.
The outbreak in DR Congo is the second biggest in history, with a significant spike in new cases noted in recent weeks. Nearly 1,400 people have died of the disease since August.
Only once before has an outbreak continued to grow more than eight months after it began – that was the disease in West Africa between 2013 and 2016, which killed 11, 310 people.
What Ebola is
Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat.
It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding.
People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.
Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.