By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA (Reuters) – A 9-year-old girl has died of Ebola in the East African nation of Uganda, a hospital official said, a day after she tested positive for the disease after crossing the border from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“It is true she died last night,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

Uganda’s health minister said earlier on Friday that the girl, of Congolese origin, would be sent back to her country for treatment.

The haemorrhagic disease has killed more than 2,000 people in a year-long outbreak in the Congo, and sparked fears of the outbreak spilling over into neighbouring countries.

The girl was identified by a screening team at Mpondwe border post as she tried to cross to Uganda with her mother on Aug. 28.

She was put under isolation in a hospital in Kasese district, about 470 km (292 miles) west of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

In June, two people who had travelled from Congo died in Uganda while a third who was part of the same visiting family died after he was sent back home. The three had tested positive for Ebola.

Uganda has been hit by multiple outbreaks of Ebola in the past but the presence of a donor-funded viral testing lab, Uganda Virus Research Institute, and a robust response mechanism has ensured fatalities have been kept low.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Maggie Fick and Hugh Lawson)