Uganda’s Ministry of Health has confirmed an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Moyo District in the West Nile region and Buliisa District in the Hoima region.
In Moyo District, there are two confirmed cases. Both are males aged eighteen and twenty-one years.
According to Uganda’s Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng the two cases were linked to cutting and trading timber between Uganda and South Sudan. They traveled from South Sudan to Moyo on 2 January 2020.
Upon arrival, the Minister said that that the two got ill and and were admitted at Logobo Health Center in Moyo District. They were later referred to Moyo General Hospital with symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, headache, abdominal and joint pain, confusion as well as unexplained bleeding.
The two 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Blood samples were withdrawn and sent for testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).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 infections.
In Buliisa, there are also two confirmed cases; a husband and wife.
The husband, who was a cattle farmer trading in milk between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), died on 4 November 2019 at Buliisa Hospital.
At this time, there was little suspicion, however, his blood sample, which was withdrawn and sent to UVRI, tested positive for the Yellow Fever virus.
Minister Aceng said that teams followed up with investigations and collected samples from seven of his contacts, including his wife who also tested positive for the Yellow Fever virus. The other six samples tested negative and the woman was treated and is alive and well.
Minister Aceng said 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 Moyo and Buliisa Districts to support investigations, active search for cases, community mobilisation and sensitisation.” Aceng stated.
She told the media in Kampala this morning that the Ministry of Health has requested for the 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,” she noted
Uganda has also applied to GAVI and WHO (The World Health Organisation) for inclusion of the Yellow Fever vaccination into the routine immunisation schedule.
Minister Aceng said having faced four outbreaks, Uganda now qualifies to introduce the Yellow Fever vaccine as a long term measure to prevent future outbreaks.
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 stools and/or yellow discoloration of the skin and/or eyes.
The Ministry of Health has appealed to all travellers in and out of the country to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever.