Uganda confirms Yellow Fever outbreak

Three people have lost their lives in what is now a confirmed outbreak of yellow fever in the midwestern and northwestern parts of Uganda. At a joint World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health press conference on Friday, held at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Kampala, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that laboratory tests confirmed the four reported cases from the districts of Moyo and Buliisa.

According to Dr. Aceng, two adult men aged 18 and 21, succumbed to the deadly virus in the north western district of Moyo earlier in January. The two were timber dealers, plying their trade between Uganda and neighbouring South Sudan. A third male victim, a 37-year-old cattle keeper, died last November in the mid-western district of Buliisa. The cattle keeper’s wife also tested positive for the yellow fever virus on 22nd January.

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In trying to tackle the spread of the disease, the ministry in conjunction with the World Health Organization have dispatched rapid response teams to the affected districts to conduct investigative and containment measures. Uganda’s Ministry of Health also intends to deploy vaccination drives in the affected areas of the country.

“The ministry has requested for yellow fever vaccines from the International Coordination Group, that manages the global stock piles of yellow fever and meningitis vaccines. We anticipate that within the next two weeks, vaccines will be available and vaccinations will commence in Moyo and Buliisa districts,” Dr. Aceng said.

Directives to curb the spread include mandatory vaccinations for all travellers in and out of the country to minimise the risk of cross-border infections. The population have also been advised to sleep under a mosquito net and report any suspected cases to the nearest health facility.

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The East African nation has grappled with a number of disease outbreaks in in recent years; these include Zika virus, yellow fever and ebola.

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