Ebola Spreads Into Uganda Prompting Fears of Global Emergency
Last Tuesday, the World Health Organization confirmed that the world’s second most deadly Ebola outbreak spread into Uganda. And this is a really big deal.
The Ebola outbreak began in the Democratic Republic of Congo last August. Health officials have worked tirelessly to contain the outbreak within the country’s borders. But the WHO has long been uneasy about the Democratic Republic of Congo’s proximity to Uganda. They’ve feared that the Ebola outbreak might spread across the neighboring border.
That fear was realized last week when a 5-year-old Congolese boy crossed the border carrying the often fatal illness. He was cared for by Ugandan medical professionals but died overnight. The boy’s brother, age three, is now being treated for Ebola. This means that Ebola is now simmering in Uganda and an outbreak could be imminent.
Ugandan medical officials have created vast Ebola treatment units to help any cases they come across, as well as prepare for a worst-case scenario.
This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, in a statement. “We can expect and should plan for more cases in DRC and neighboring countries.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director General, declared a “public health emergency of international concern.” This means there is a potential for a catastrophic global pandemic.
Following the spread of #Ebola to #Uganda from #DRC, I am reconvening the IHR Emergency Committee on 14 June in Geneva to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. This will be the 3rd meeting of the committee on this outbreak. pic.twitter.com/tchEuKmu6k
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— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 12, 2019
The WHO believes that at least 2,000 Ebola cases are ongoing in the DRC. This is the second worst Ebola outbreak since the 2014-2016 West Africa epidemic. In April, the WHO passed on declaring a global emergency. They cited the absence of Ebola spreading beyond the DRC’s borders. With Uganda experiencing Ebola, that factor is now sadly changed.
An Ebola outbreak’s devastation isn’t just limited to the illness’s fatal outcome. It can cause countries to be thrust into economic turmoil. When a country is experiencing a deadly outbreak, trade and travel restrictions may be enacted. This can have dire consequences on local economies, particularly those in the third world.
The Uganda reports are certain to cause a frenzy among politicians. Some will use this as evidence that support’s the Trump administrations border security agenda. While others may see this as an excuse for the Trump administration to justify increased border security. One thing is certain, deadly illnesses such as Ebola must be contained in some logical way. The world is now on notice.
For the United States, the situation with Ebola remains precarious. Some health officials believe that Ebola has already crossed our southern border. The first world is now living under the threat of a pandemic. Now is certainly not the time to fall asleep at the wheel.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.