ZOMBO. Zombo district has been put on a high Ebola alert following cases of the epidemic in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Officials said basing on its proximity to the DR-Congo, Zombo district risks registering Ebola cases if massive sensitization of the local population is not done.

Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever which causes sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, internal and external bleeding through the body openings.

Speaking during an awareness creation meeting held in Paidha town on Monday, Ms. Harriet Thumitho, the Zombo district health educator urged members of the community to report suspected cases of locals who present Ebola-like symptom to the nearest health facility for immediate management.

She assured the public that the district health department is prepared to counter Ebola attack but cautioned the residents not to come into contact with body fluids of persons suspected to have contracted Ebola.

"Ebola is a dangerous disease and that is why we are advising you to stay away from bodies of people who have died of Ebola in case of any and do not come into contact with body fluids of people suspected to be suffering from Ebola," Thumitho warned.

According to Thumitho, the very fact that a number of people from Zombo interact with relatives, friends and business partners from the Congo, the chance for the epidemic to spill over to Ugandan side remains high.

"There is need for everybody to take precautions against the disease because what affects people in Congo is potentially dangerous to us along the border lines," Thumitho said.

Mr John Birombo Orwiny, the Zombo district chairman implored all stakeholders ranging from political, religious and cultural leaders to use their platforms to sensitize the community on the dangers of Ebola so that people can take care.

"Let me address myself to leaders at various levels to use their different platforms to tell people that Ebola is a deadly disease which can fortunately be prevented," Orwiny said.

He suggested that all people coming into Uganda from Congo be tested to ascertain their Ebola status to avoid its spread to Uganda.

"The immigration offices along the border points shouldn't allow people to cross into Uganda anyhow. They should be tested first," Orwiny said.

Mr Isaac Lulaba, the Zombo resident district commissioner said the porous borderline with Congo has facilitated illegal cross-border movements which has always had negative outcomes for Uganda.

Lulaba said it is important that the people of Zombo are put on alert to guard against Ebola.

"I want our people to take extra care because reality has taught us that whatever happens in Congo has a spillover to the neighboring districts of Uganda," Lulaba said.

Reports from Congo indicate that Ebola has so far killed 82 people since its outbreak on August 1, 2018, sparking concerns from medical experts that the deadly disease could escalate further.

North Kivu and Ituri provinces are the most hit areas but the presence of ADF rebel group in Eastern Congo is said to be jeopardizing efforts to fight the disease.