The UN and local South Sudanese authorities have taken preparatory steps to prevent the spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD) from neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as of mid-March. Precautionary measures that have been implemented include performing border screenings, training health teams, and vaccinating health workers on the front line of the outbreak. Vaccinations for health workers have begun in Yambio (Gbudwe state); health workers in other areas bordering the DRC and exposed to a high risk of disease transmission will also be offered the vaccine, including in Tambura (Gbudwe state), Yei (Yei River state), and Nimule (Imatong state), as well as in the capital city, Juba (Jubek state). Despite such measures, further spread of the EVD outbreak is possible in the abovementioned areas over the coming weeks.
The current outbreak of EVD in DRC is the second-deadliest outbreak of the disease in history. The disease spreads through contact with bodily fluids and causes hemorrhagic fever, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding. Neighboring countries have not reported any cases of EVD, but there are increasing concerns that the disease will spread to neighboring countries, including South Sudan. More than 500 people have died from Ebola in DRC since August 2018.
Individuals in the affected regions are advised to monitor the situation and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities. To prevent the spread of EVD:
- Avoid contact with infected individuals and any items that have been in their close proximity;
- Avoid consuming bush meat and only handle animals when wearing gloves and the appropriate protective wear;
- Thoroughly cook animal products (e.g. meat and blood) should before consumption;
- Adhere to a strict observance of hygienic precautions (e.g. wash hands regularly, etc.);
- Avoid crowded areas (e.g. stadiums, markets, train stations, etc.).
Seek immediate medical attention and comply with all directives issued by local health authorities if you suspect you may have contracted EVD or exhibit any of the abovementioned symptoms.
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