South Sudan to step up border surveillance over Ebola fears
South Sudan will strengthen surveillance measures at its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
The Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, Makur Koriom, said on Thursday that a team of health officials would be dispatched to all border areas of South Sudan shares with DR Congo.
Koriom said a team of health officials would also conduct surveillance and health education among communities in Western Equatorial state.
“The minister will this Friday lead a high level and technical team of health workers to the areas bordering DR Congo.
“The purpose of that visit is to enlighten the people about the importance of protecting themselves against Ebola,’’ Koriom said.
The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) in late April reported suspected Ebola outbreak in the province of Bas Uele, northern DR Congo where 29 suspected cases and three deaths have been reported.
The latest outbreak caused panic among South Sudanese communities living along the 628 km border line the East African nation shares with DR Congo.
Koriom said top of the mission’s agenda is to diffuse fear and panic among the population.
“We also want to enlighten people about danger of consuming bush meat got from animals such as monkeys which are thought to be carriers of the deadly Ebola virus,’’ he noted.
The official further denied reports that South Sudan had closed its border with DR Congo.
According to Koriom, the risks of the virus spreading into South Sudan are very low because of the distance of the affected area and majors taken by Congolese authorities to contain the outbreak.
South Sudan suffered Ebola outbreak in 2004 after WHO reported 20 cases including 5 deaths from Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Yambio County which borders DR Congo.