The World Health Organization is considering whether to declare the current Ebola outbreak in central Africa a global health crisis after new cases spread to Uganda from neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the disease has already killed nearly 1,400 people.
WHO announced on Tuesday that a 5-year-old boy who traveled with his family to Uganda from Congo died from the disease. On Thursday, a Ugandan health ministry official said a second patient, the boy’s grandmother, had also died. Uganda’s Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said that officials there have been on alert to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Associated Press, quoting Congo’s health ministry, says a dozen of the boy’s family members also showed Ebola symptoms and had been placed in isolation. However, six of them managed to leave while awaiting transfer to a treatment facility.
On average, half of the people who contract Ebola die as a result of the disease.
The latest Ebola outbreak, centered in northeastern Congo, is “by far the largest” of 10 such outbreaks in the country in the past 40 years, according to Doctors Without Borders.