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Uganda says latest Ebola patient to be returned to Congo

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Uganda says latest Ebola patient to be returned to Congo
FILE PHOTO: A Ugandan health worker prepares to administer the Ebola vaccine to a man in Kirembo village, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kasese district, Uganda June 16, 2019. REUTERS/James Akena/File Photo/File Photo   -   Copyright  James Akena(Reuters)
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KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda said on Friday a young girl who tested positive for Ebola after crossing the border from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would be sent back to her country for treatment.

The haemorrhagic disease has killed at least 1,800 people in a year-long outbreak in the Congo, and sparked fears of the outbreak spilling over into neighbouring countries.

The nine-year-old girl, of Congolese origin, was identified by a screening team at Mpondwe border post as she tried to cross to Uganda with her mother on Aug. 28.

“The child is currently under isolation at Bwera ETU (Ebola Treatment Unit). However, upon the request of the government of the DRC, both mother and child will be repatriated back to the DRC to receive treatment from there,” Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng tweeted on Friday.

The isolation unit is in Kasese district, about 470 km (292 miles) west of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

In June, two people who had travelled from Congo died in Uganda while a third who was part of the same visiting family died after he was sent back home. The three had tested positive for Ebola.

Uganda has been hit by multiple outbreaks of Ebola in the past but the presence of a donor-funded viral testing lab, Uganda Virus Research Institute, and a robust response mechanism has ensured fatalities have been kept low.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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