A young child who became the first cross-border case of Ebola in the world's second-largest outbreak has died, health officials said.
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The 5-year-old boy sought medical care at a hospital in western Uganda on Monday evening after he and five relatives crossed into the country from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is struggling to contain one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history. The boy was transferred to an Ebola treatment unit, where he and his family were placed under isolation and tested for Ebola virus disease, according to separate statements from the Ugandan and Congolese health ministries.
Uganda's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, the global health arm of the United Nations, confirmed late Tuesday night that the boy's laboratory tests were positive.
The child died at the Ebola treatment unit in Bwera on Wednesday morning, according to the Ugandan health ministry.
His 3-year-old brother and 50-year-old grandmother have now tested positive for the deadly virus, bringing the total number of reported cases in Uganda to three. The pair remain under isolation at the same facility, the health ministry said.
“Ebola is a horrific illness that ravages the human body. We’ve been told this young boy was diagnosed after showing severe symptoms of Ebola, including vomiting blood,” Brechtje van Lith, the Uganda director for Save the Children, said in a statement Wednesday. “This first death, of a child, is a sickening reminder of the dangers of this disease. We are particularly concerned about the remaining stigma in some communities around Ebola, which can hinder the efforts of health teams and cause the disease to spread faster."