Press Statement on Yellow Fever in Moyo and Buliisa districts in Uganda

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The Ministry of Health would like to inform the public of the confirmation of an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Moyo District in West Nile region and Buliisa District in Hoima region.

In Moyo District, there are two confirmed cases, both are males aged 18 and 21 years. The two cases were dealing in cutting and trading timber between Uganda and South Sudan. On 2 January 2020, the two cases travelled from South Sudan to Moyo.

Upon arrival, they got ill and on 3 January 2020, they were admitted at Logobo Health Center III 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.

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 Blood samples were withdrawn and sent for testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).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.

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 31 October 2019, he visited Buliisa Hospital with a headache, vomiting, and abdominal pain and received supportive treatment. He died on 4 November 2019 at Buliisa Hospital. At this time, there was little suspicion, however, his blood sample was withdrawn and sent to UVRI for testing. On 10 December 2019, the sample tested positive for Yellow fever virus. This prompted our teams to follow up with investigations, samples were collected from seven of his contacts, including his wife. On 22 January 2020, the wife tested positive for Yellow Fever virus. The other 6 samples tested negative. She is alive and well.

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 Moyo and Buliisa Districts to support: investigations, active search for cases, community mobilization and sensitization.

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.

Ministry of Health has also applied to GAVI and WHO for the inclusion of the Yellow Fever vaccination into the routine immunisation schedule. Having faced 4 outbreaks, Uganda now qualifies to introduce Yellow Fever vaccine as a long term measure to prevent Yellow Fever outbreaks.

Yellow fever is a disease transmitted through bites of mosquitoes infected by the Yellow Fever virus (flavirvirus). Symptoms include: high fever, headache, general body aches, fatigue, vomiting, blood in urine or stool and or yellow discoloration of skin and or eyes.

The Ministry of Health appeals to the general public to observe the following;

All travellers in and out of the country MUST be vaccinated against Yellow Fever. Travelers are urged to comply with this travel requirement to ensure that the risk of spread of yellow fever through international travel is minimized. The population are advised to always sleep under a mosquito net Report any suspected cases to the nearest health facility

In conclusion, The Ministry of Health re-echoes its call to the public to cooperate with officials during the investigation and response to the outbreaks. The Ministry would also like to re-assure Ugandans and all other residents that with the experience and expertise available in the country, the disease will be contained.

We appeal to the public to remain calm and vigilant and report any suspected cases to the nearest health facility or call our toll-free number 0800-203-033

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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