An outbreak of yellow fever has been declared in the districts of Moyo and Buliisa by the Ministry of Health after Four cases have so far been reported in the two districts.
According to the ministry, two of the cases are believed to be South Sudan nationals while the other two are Ugandan farmers, while three of them have already succumbed to the disease.
The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says the disease is suspected to have entered Uganda from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC where cases have been reported since 2018.
The minister says the first case was a 37-year-old farmer who traded in milk between DRC and Uganda but later passed on in November 2019 and is believed to have spread the disease to his 38-year-old wife who has since tested positive to the disease.
In Moyo the cases are those of 18 and 21-year old males believed to have travelled to DRC before being admitted to Logobo Health Centre III in Moyo at the beginning of January 2020.
The minister added that the four cases were confirmed after samples taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute came back positive for the disease.
Currently, the Ministry of Health is carrying out investigations to ascertain the scope of the outbreak and carry out contact tracing before a yellow fever vaccination exercise is conducted in the two affected districts targeting residents aged 6 months to 45 years in the affected districts. The vaccinated people will get one shot of the vaccine that is enough to protect them for life.
According to Dr Yonas T Woldermariam the WHO country representative in Uganda, the yellow fever vaccine is the most effective way to protect against the disease.
“The vaccine offers protection of up to 100 per cent. There’s no yellow fever cure, the vaccine is the only way to get protection,” he said.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. According to WHO, few people who get infected with the disease develop severe symptoms. Approximately half of those to acquire the symptoms die within 7-10 days of being infected.