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Friday, June 14, 2019, 00:03
2nd Ebola death in Uganda after outbreak crosses border
By Associated Press
Friday, June 14, 2019, 00:03 By Associated Press

This photo released by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) shows a Congolese refugee boy washing his hands before entering one of the medical tents used for evaluating newly arrived Congolese for potential symptoms of Ebola, at the Kyaka refugee settlement in western Uganda, June 12, 2019. (KELLIE RYAN / INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE / AP)

KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda's health ministry says a second person infected with the Ebola virus has died after a family exposed to the disease quietly crossed the border from Congo.

The Ebola virus outbreak in Congo has so far infected over 1,900 people and caused more than 1,300 deaths

The first cross-border cases in this Ebola outbreak have prompted a World Health Organization (WHO) expert committee to meet on Friday to discuss whether to declare a global health emergency.

ALSO READ: New Ebola cases in Uganda raise fears of further spread

Health ministry spokesman Emmanuel Ainebyoona on Thursday confirmed the death of the 50-year-old woman overnight.

Her 5-year-old grandson was the first confirmed death from Ebola in Uganda. The boy's 3-year-old brother also is infected.

Authorities repatriated the relatives of two people who died of Ebola in Uganda back to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, including the 3-year-old boy, the Ugandan health minister said.This AFP graphic shows the data and a map on the spread of Ebola from the DR Congo to Uganda.

Health officials in eastern Congo are vaccinating some pregnant women and infants against Ebola for the first time since the outbreak was declared in August.

More than 1,400 people have now died from Ebola, and an experimental vaccine produced by Merck has provided a high degree of protection. 

The WHO said on Wednesday the current Ebola outbreak in the Congo remains a major threat to the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the people of East Africa.

It is bringing in 3,500 additional vaccines to Uganda and will begin vaccinating more people on Friday.

The WHO has said it will reconvene an emergency committee on Friday to decide whether the outbreak is an international public health emergency and how to manage it. 

READ MORE: Ebola outbreak deaths top 1,000 in Congo amid clinic attacks

This photo released by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) shows a young Congolese refugee girl washing clothes outside one of the medical units used for evaluating newly arrived Congolese for potential symptoms of Ebola, at the Kyaka refugee settlement in western Uganda, June 12, 2019. (KELLIE RYAN / INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE / AP)

Tigest Ketsela Mengestu, WHO Country Representative for Tanzania, urged the East African Community (EAC) region to continue engaging in national and regional contingency plans needed to strengthen prevention, response and mitigation of health security risks. 

She said the Ebola virus outbreak in Congo has so far infected over 1,900 people and caused more than 1,300 deaths.

With inputs from Xinhua

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