Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Uganda to vaccinate health workers against Ebola

Uganda to vaccinate health workers against Ebola

At least 300 suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in the DRC, with 265 confirmed. Another 60 suspected cases are now under investigation.

WHO said in a statement released on Wednesday that it is "highly likely" that Ugandans in districts near the border will be infected with the virus, due to their close proximity to the epicentre of the outbreak, and high population movements due to trade, social and cultural connections and the relatively easy access to health services.

The current Ebola outbreak in DRC is the country's second in 2017.

To alert global travelers to the DRC of the expanding Ebola situation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded its Travel Alert to Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, on October 19, 2018.

The World Health Organization, CDC and other global health organizations say they are anxious about the current Ebola outbreak spreading to port cities like Butembo, which will only exacerbate infection transmission rates. As a result, the US State Department's security assessment has advised against US personnel being on the ground in the response.

According to Dr. Redfield, to prevent the outbreak from spreading to other countries and continents, it is critical that the outbreak be brought under control in North Kivu. If current efforts fail, Ebola could become endemic in a region for the first time.

"In vaccinating frontline health workers against Ebola, even before Uganda detects a single case, health authorities are being cautious having learned bitter lessons from previous outbreaks", the World Health Organization said.

I have been responding to different disease outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for 18 years, yet I have never seen anything as challenging as containing Ebola in an armed-conflict zone.

The brief from the UNHCR said "In Yei, UNHCR and partners conducted community sensitisation and awareness sessions on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)". Additionally, surrounding nations are also preparing for the event that the outbreak spreads. "This is targeted vaccination", Aceng emphasized. In Yei, a South Sudanese city bordering the DRC, an isolation area has been established in a hospital and clinicians are being trained about the symptoms of Ebola.

A World Health Organization assessment of the situation in DRC released on 22 October, warned of the potential for the virus to spread into Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi, as well as Uganda, and called on these countries to step up readiness efforts.

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