The latest Ebola outbreak has spread from the Democratic Republic of the Congo into Uganda, in a move that director of Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar called “truly frightening,” per CNN. Wellcome Trust is a British medical research charity that is currently working on sharing research findings to come up with more ways to stop the spread of the fatal disease.
“There are now more deaths than any other Ebola outbreak in history, bar the West Africa Epidemic of 2013-16, and there can be no doubt that the situation could escalate towards those terrible levels,” Farrar said of the crisis.
“This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.”
So far, around 1,400 people have died in the second outbreak of the virus. One of the most recent fatalities was the death of a 5-year-old boy in Uganda, marking the first death from Ebola outside the DR Congo.
The boy, as well as his infected brother and grandmother, crossed the border to seek medical treatment in Uganda. The country’s health ministry said that it was working on vaccinating front-line medics and those who had in contact the family. The health ministry added that there were eight people who had been in contact with the trio whose whereabouts were being traced.
Brechtje van Lith, Uganda’s Save the Children’s director, lamented the fact that the first casualty of the disease was so young.
“This first death, of a child, is a sickening reminder of the dangers of this disease,” he said, in addition to describing the disease as a cruel fate. “Ebola is a horrific illness that ravages the human body.”
The boy’s grandmother has also reportedly since passed away.
The United Nations’ World Health Organization, known as WHO, did not declare the newest outbreak an international health emergency during their last meeting in April. However, doctors and medics now believe that the intra-governmental agency will be under immense pressure to change that decision.
The main locations of the outbreak in the Congo are in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which border Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan, causing concerns for the disease’s spread.
Moreover, cases are only growing as it has been difficult for doctors in the DR Congo to treat the virus as a large portion of the population believes that the illness is a “made up” scheme for people to grab power, as reported by The Inquisitr. There have even been instances of military groups attacking health care workers.
The previous Ebola outbreak lasted three years and claimed an estimated 11,000 lives.