Uganda Strives To Contain Yellow Fever Outbreak

Uganda Strives To Contain Yellow Fever Outbreak

Authorities in Uganda are putting measures in place to contain a deadly yellow fever outbreak.

So far two people have died of the disease while seven other cases have been confirmed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been over 60 suspected cases since the outbreak started in March.

The confirmed cases are in the central districts of Masaka, Kalangala and the western district of Rukungiri. Health experts have warned that frantic efforts are needed to stop the disease from spreading to other parts of the country.

Over the weekend, Uganda's Ministry of Health, supported by UN agencies, completed a four-day emergency vaccination campaign in order to contain the outbreak in the affected districts.

"The objective of the campaign is to reach at least 90 percent of the target population that is required to interrupt transmission," said Health Minister, Elioda Tumwesigye, when launching the campaign on Thursday.

The mass vaccination campaign is expected to cover more than 643,000 people aged six months and above in the affected districts.

Tumwesigye said the ministry had put in place measures to slow down the spread of the outbreak and reduce mortality.

"We have provided adequate and prompt supportive treatment for all suspected cases so as to reduce mortality. Isolation units were identified in designated health facilities in all affected districts and indoor residual spraying carried out to curtail transfer of yellow fever by mosquitoes from one individual to another," said Tumwesigye.

He said the ministry will carry out an epidemiological assessment to identify other high risk districts and plan for them accordingly.

In the meantime, all travelers in and out of Uganda are being checked to ensure that they have been immunized to avoid the possible spread of the virus.

Yellow fever is an acute viral disease. In most cases, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains and headaches. The disease is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.

The WHO says vaccination is the most cost effective way of protecting the population against the disease.

Uganda last reported a yellow fever outbreak in 2010 that affected five districts in the northern part of the country.

Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also battling yellow fever outbreaks, with the WHO last week declaring them serious public health events in the two countries.

© Xinhua

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