US advises screen monitoring at airports following Ebola outbreak in Uganda

A healthcare worker takes samples for COVID testing in Kashmir. [FPK File Photo/ Zainab]

Following the outbreak of Ebola outbreak in African country Uganda, the United States has ordered all US-bound air travelers who recently visited Uganda will be tested for symptoms of the Ebola virus.

In a statement, as reported by a Russian TV Network RT, the US State Department said that there will be a screening at airports due to the soaring cases of the deadly virus that has left nine dead.

Starting later this week, travelers of any nationality, including American citizens, will be re-routed to one of five airports around the country to undergo “new layers of screening” if they visited Uganda within the last 21 days, officials announced on Thursday. \

While the State Department said no Ebola cases have been detected beyond Uganda in the latest outbreak, and that the risk to Americans remains “low,” the decision appears to have been taken as a precaution.

Health authorities in the African country declared an Ebola emergency in late September after the first deadly case there in years. Since then, at least 60 confirmed and probable infections have been detected, with 28 people killed by the virus in that time, including several healthcare workers.

According to a US official cited by the Hill, travelers who were recently in Uganda can expect a temperature check and to fill out a “health questionnaire” about Ebola.

They will be asked to provide contact information in the event a case is detected within the US, hoping it will help trace the origin of the infection. It is unclear how long the screenings will remain in place.

Ebola primarily spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or animal, as well as objects carrying the pathogen.

Symptoms include severe fever and gastrointestinal problems, headaches, joint and muscle pain, as well as internal and external bleeding. Mortality rates for the rare virus have exceeded 90% in some previous epidemics, though outcomes are thought to be strongly tied to the quality of medical care a patient receives

Uganda’s health system, already weakened by the coronavirus pandemic and budget cuts, is struggling to contain an Ebola outbreak caused by a strain for which there are no proven vaccines or antiviral treatments and which can’t be detected by rapid tests.

Two weeks after Ugandan authorities first announced that a 24-year-old man had died of the relatively rare Sudan strain of Ebola, there are now 43 confirmed cases, including nine deaths.

Nineteen other people who either lived in or had visited the young man’s village are also believed to have died from the virus as far back as early August, but were never tested, a report by The Wall Street Journal said.

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