Uganda Readies to avert ebola along the DRC border

In Uganda, officials have taken more measures to prevent an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Ebola has infected 319 people in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo since August, killing 198 people. The borders between the countries remain open and health experts fear that the virus will enter Uganda via cross-border traffic.

The Lamia River marks the boundary between Ebola-infected North Kivu Province and Uganda of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Despite the deadly viral outbreak, the health ministry of Uganda says that 20,000 people cross the border every week, putting the country at great risk.

Ugandan Jane Biira goes to the Democratic Republic of Congo at least twice a week to buy food and charcoal to sell at home.

"We've heard that the disease is there, but we have to go out and exchange, but we're just a bit scared, because we've never seen anyone getting sick with Ebola where we're going, buying the merchandise and leaving. # 39;

When Biira and others enter the border with Uganda, they are checked for screening posts by health professionals and volunteers, such as Boaz Balimaka.

"We have to wash our hands, then disinfect the feet and have them shielded, then we let someone pass."

Although Ebola cases have not yet been detected in Uganda, it can take up to three weeks for the symptoms to appear.

The virus causes a severe haemorrhagic fever that kills at least half of the people who become infected.

Even with border displays, the head of Butogo, John Kandole, says they are concerned that someone with Ebola can slip through.

"Someone who comes from the Congo, we do not shake hands with him, and once he buys something, he buys and goes, and the money we sometimes fear."

The health ministry of Uganda carries out preventive measures by using an experimental Ebola vaccine for health care and front-line workers along the border.

Jane Ruth Aceng, health minister in Uganda, says vaccines are also on stand-by.

"We currently have 2,100 doses of vaccine available in Uganda in the National Medical Stores and are in high gear, including training of the health professionals who need to be targeted."

An Ebola outbreak in Uganda, in the border town of Bundibugyo, infected 149 people, killed 37 and took several weeks to hold on.

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