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No new Ebola cases in Uganda but more than 300,000 flee Congo, possibly infected

Christian Fernsby |
Uganda has not recorded any new case of Ebola since last week, the ministry of health has said, dismissing rumors of an outbreak in Mbarara district in western Uganda.

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“Some sections of the media are awash with rumors of ‘Ebola in Mbarara District.’ The Ministry of Health would like to clarify that there is NO confirmed case of Ebola in Mbarara District,” the ministry said in a statement.

More than 300,000 people have fled inter-ethnic violence in northeastern Congo since early June.

That complicates the tracing and treatment of patients at risk from Ebola, U.N. aid agencies said.

At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.

The UNHCR fears that the escalation could engulf large parts of the province, amid reports of killings, kidnappings and sexual violence unleashed against civilians, he said. The government is trying to bring the clashes under control, the U.N. refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch told a news briefing.

As Congolese flee violence at "this massive scale," fears are that more people will try to seek safety in Uganda, crossing Lake Albert, Baloch said.

An Ebola epidemic in Congo, which spread to Uganda last week, has caused 2,168 infections since August, including 1,449 deaths, with Ituri accounting for about 10 percent of cases and deaths, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

The European Union (EU) has pledged €1.2 million to South Sudan in an effort to stem the spread of the pandemic virus across South Sudan’s neighboring countries.

According to a statement issued by the European Union, the emergency funding will go towards responding and strengthening the disease surveillance in the country.

Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola Coordinator, said the continental body is doing its best to ensure that lives are saved and further Ebola infections are stopped.

“We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighboring countries,” he said.

“Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action,” he added.

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