Uganda strives to contain yellow fever outbreak

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Masaka (Uganda)  –  Uganda’s Ministry of Health is taking steps to contain deadly yellow fever outbreak, authorities in Uganda have said.

The country’s Health Minister, Elioda Tumwesigye, said on Monday that two people died of the disease while seven other cases have been confirmed.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been over 60 suspected cases of the disease since the started in March.

The confirmed cases are in the central districts of Masaka, Kalangala and the western district of Rukungiri.

Health have warned that frantic efforts must be made to stop the disease from spreading to other parts of the country.

Over the weekend, the ministry, supported by UN agencies, completed a four-day emergency campaign in order to contain the
in the affected districts.

“The objective of the campaign is to reach not less than 90 per cent of the target population that is required to interrupt transmission,’’ Tumwesigye said when launching the campaign last Thursday.

“The mass 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 and reduce mortality.

“We have provided adequate and prompt supportive for all suspected cases so as to reduce mortality.

units were identified in designated health facilities in all affected districts.

“Also indoor residual spraying carried out to curtail transfer of yellow fever by mosquitoes from one individual to another,’’ Tumwesigye added.

The minister noted that the ministry would carry out an epidemiological assessment to identify other high risk districts and plan for them accordingly.

In the meantime, he said, all travelers in and out of Uganda were being checked to ensure that they have been immunised 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 is the most cost effective way of protecting the population against the disease.

Uganda last reported a yellow fever 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 on Thursday declaring them serious public health events in the two countries. (Xinhua/NAN)