Authorities repatriated the relatives of two people who died of Ebola in Uganda back to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, including a 3-year-old boy confirmed to be suffering from the disease, the Ugandan health minister said.
The cases marked the first time the virus has crossed an international border since the current outbreak began in Congo last August. The epidemic has already killed 1,390 people in eastern Congo.
The family sent home on Thursday had crossed from Congo to Uganda earlier this week and sought treatment when a 5-year-old boy became unwell. He died of Ebola on Tuesday. His 50-year-old grandmother, who was accompanying them, died of the disease on Wednesday, the ministry said.
They were the first confirmed deaths in Uganda in the current Ebola outbreak.
The dead boy’s father, mother, 3-year-old brother and their 6-month-old baby, along with the family’s maid, were all repatriated, the minister’s statement said.
The 3-year-old has been confirmed to be infected with Ebola. His 23-year-old Ugandan father has displayed symptoms but tested negative, Ugandan authorities said.
“Uganda remains in Ebola response mode to follow up the 27 contacts (of the family),” the statement said.
Three other suspected Ebola cases not related to the family remain in isolation, the ministry said.
The viral disease spreads through contact with bodily fluids, causing haemorrhagic fever with severe vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding.