Uganda on Tuesday offered to treat Ebola patients from the neighbouring eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after a suspected case was detected there.
"A patient fitting in the classical clinical definition of Ebola has been identified across the border in the DRC," Primary Healthcare Minister Emmanuel Otaala told reporters in Kampala.
AdvertisementThe minister urged residents of Bundibugyo, a western Ugandan district that has been devastated by an Ebola outbreak, to encourage their eastern DRC neighbours to cross over for help.
"These diseases know no boundary ... We are in touch with Kinshasa through the World Health Organisation and we have also contacted our foreign ministry to handle it through the diplomatic channels," Otaala added.
A new strain of Ebola virus has killed 35 of the 127 people infected in Uganda, mainly in Bundibugyo where the disease first erupted in September. Thirty-nine patients have recovered from the infection.
Spread primarily by body secrection, mainly blood, Ebola is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, mostly killing victims from both external and internal haemorrhages.
The health ministry urged communities to suspend practices that can spread the strain, such as circumcision or unprotected sex, until the outbreak clears.
The rare disease killed at least 170 people in northern Uganda in 2000, with experts blaming poor sanitation and hygiene.
The Ebola virus was first detected in the DRC -- where it killed at least 26 people in recent weeks -- and Sudan in 1976. There have also been outbreaks in Ivory Coast and Gabon.
Experts have said the disease is usually containable because it kills victims faster that it can spread to new ones.