By Keefa Nuwahereza
The government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Health, has confirmed a yellow fever outbreak in Moyo District, in West Nile region and Buliisa District in Hoima region.
This alarming revelation was made by Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on Friday.
Minister Aceng said that “In Moyo District, there are two confirmed cases, both males aged 18 and 21 years. The two cases were dealing with cutting and trading timber between Uganda and South Sudan.”
She added that “On January 2, 2020, the two cases travelled from South Sudan to Moyo. Upon arrival, they got ill and on January 3, 2020, they were admitted at Logobo Health Center I l l in Moyo District.
They were later referred to Moyo General Hospital with symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, abdominal and joint pain, confusion and unexplained bleeding.”
She went on to reveal that “Unfortunately, they later died in the isolation ward of Moyo General Hospital. Blood samples were withdrawn and sent for testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). Results from UVRI confirmed Yellow Fever infection.”
The minister further disclosed that in Buliisa, there are also two confirmed cases.
“A 37-year old male and his 38-year old wife.
The husband was a cattle farmer trading in milk between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On October 31, 2019, he visited Buliisa Hospital with a headache, vomiting, and abdominal pain and received supportive treatment. He died on November 4, 2019 at Buliisa Hospital.”
Minister Acheng noted that currently,the district health teams of Moyo and Buliisa have initiated investigations. In addition, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have dispatched Rapid Response Teams to the two districts to support in investigations, conduct active search for cases, community mobilization and sensitization.
“The Ministry of Health has requested for Yellow Fever vaccines from the International Coordination Group that manages Global Stockpiles of Yellow Fever and Meningitis vaccines. We anticipate that within the next two weeks, vaccines will be available and vaccination will commence in Moyo and Buliisa districts,” Dr Aceng assured Ugandans.
Yellow fever is a disease transmitted through bites of mosquitoes infected by the Yellow Fever virus (flavivirus). Symptoms include high fever, headache, general body aches, fatigue, vomiting, blood in urine or stool and or yellow discolouration of skin and or eyes.
Although it is a deadly disease, Yellow Fever is curable if a patient receives adequate medication in time. It can also be prevented through being immunized with the Yellow Fever vaccine.
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