Al-hadji Kudra Maliro / AP
The World Health Organization is considering explaining the current Ebola outbreak in Central Africa a global health crisis following the spread of new cases to Uganda from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo, where the disease has already killed nearly 1,400 people.
On Tuesday, WHO announced that a 5-year-old boy traveling with his family to Uganda from Congo died of the disease. On Thursday, a Ugandan health minister said a second patient, the boy's grandmother, had also died.
Uganda's Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said officials there have been aware of preventing the spread of the disease.
I'm worried about having Ebola in the country is not something you take lightly, because Ebola means death, "she told the BBC.
" Uganda has been preparing for the last ten months and you've seen how fast we moved to discover these cases, isolate them and prepare an answer, Aceng says.
The Associated Press, quoting the Congo Health Ministry, says that a dozen of the boy's family members also showed Ebola's symptoms and had been isolated. But six of them managed to leave while waiting for transfer to a treatment facility.
A WHO expert committee on the outbreak was scheduled to meet for the third time on Friday in Geneva, where it will discuss whether to explain a global health situation.
The latest Ebola outbreak, centered in northeastern Congo, was declared in August. It is "by far the largest" of 10 such outbreaks in the country over the past 40 years, according to doctors without borders.
Meanwhile, Rwanda, who neighbors both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, says it tightens its borders with both countries and the government calls on people not to travel to affected areas, according to the state-backed newspaper The New Times .
Earlier this year, Rwanda said it would start issuing health care professionals an experimental Ebola vaccine in an attempt to keep the disease from crossing into its territory. And Uganda's Ministry of Health has encouraged its audience to get the vaccine and assure them of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, Aceng says in a statement. Ebola is spread by direct contact with body fluids, such as blood, saliva and vomiting. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and chills. Later symptoms may include internal bleeding, vomiting and coughing blood. On average, half of the people contracting Ebola die as a result of the disease.