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Ebola task force in Western Equatoria strengthen screening measures

January 8, 2019 (YAMBIO) - Ebola task force in Western Equatoria region is on high alert as Ebola cases continue to rise in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, health officials said on Tuesday.

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Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients in an isolation area at a treatment centre in Sierra Leone on 20 July 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Tommy Trenchard)

Over five hundred cases are reported with over three hundred death cases in northern Congo which share borders with South Sudan.

Speaking to media in Yambio Dr Natalia Mbisimo who is the Acting Spokesperson of the Ebola task force in Western Equatoria said the Ebola task force and Ministry of Health receive weekly Ebola update from Congo which shows a high spread of Ebola in three regions in itq eastern province which put South Sudan on high alert.

"We always receive weekly updates from Congo but currently we have 542 confirmed cases, 319 death and 36 are in a critical condition. That is the current report we have," stated Dr Mbisimo.

Dr Natalia mentioned that the task force is on high alert and that its teams are deployed at the border points like Sakure and Nabiapai where screening sites are established. Also, the task force continues to monitor any suspected symptoms of Ebola in all villages located in the area to examine any suspected case without delay.

One suspected case was declared in Sakure but it appeared negative after medical tests in Juba and Nairobi.

Nevertheless, she stressed there is no report about Ebola cases in Western Equatoria and people should not panic but continue to be vigilant and increase public awareness about precautionary measures to take like stay away from eating bush meat particularly monkeys and bats.

Concerning yellow the fever epidemic, which was declared in Saukure area, she explained that over 30 samples of blood was taken and sent to Uganda for the test but only two found with yellow fever and they are still waiting for confirmation about the two Yellow fever cases.

Natalia cautioned that some people have a wrong understanding and false information about Ebola advised that they have to stop passing it to the public because Western Equatoria is close to Congo and the spread of Ebola is faster which could easily enter South Sudan.

She repeated that people should encourage washing hands with soap, and stop eating bush meat or cook it thoroughly and also wash fruits before.

(ST)