Uganda starts Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers

Uganda starts Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with the fluids of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

The World Health Organisation and health ministry in Uganda have started vaccinating frontline operatives against Ebola in five high-risk districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. The individuals in DRC who have been in contact with an Ebola patient have been vaccinated and those in contact with these contacts have also been vaccinated.

"Compassionate use of the Ebola vaccine for health care and frontline workers", will begin on Monday, she told journalists.

The rVSV-Ebola vaccine is now being administered in DRC and is demonstrating positive protective results and potency against the Ebola virus-Zaire type.

"In previous [Ebola] outbreaks, Uganda lost health workers, including the renowned Dr Matthew Lukwiya, as they cared for patients", said Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO's Uganda representative.

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and Congo, and gets its name from a river in the latter nation.

Queen invites Meghan Markle's mother to spend Christmas with the royal family
The 62-year-old was the only relative of Meghan's to attend her grand wedding to Prince Harry in May at Windsor Castle. Traditionally, the royal festive fun is held at Sandringham, one of the Queen's official residences.

DRC is facing its 10th Ebola outbreak, but this epidemic, which broke out in August, is the country's first in an area where fighting is ongoing.

In 2015, the rVSV-Ebola vaccine was given to more than 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe and the United States where it was found to be safe and protective against the Ebola virus.

In Congo, where thousands of people have been given the experimental Ebola vaccine, a worrying number of vaccinated health workers have been infected.

The minister explained that the vaccine is only available for frontline health workers who are at high risk of contracting EVD as they manage suspected cases. "Therefore, the vaccine is not available to the general population at this stage".

This is called the "ring vaccination strategy" and is an effective method of eradicating highly contagious infectious diseases, say the officials. "This is targeted vaccination", Aceng emphasized.

Besides militia attacks that have hindered health workers, the region's high population density and movements across the borders to Uganda and Rwanda pose additional risks that the highly lethal fever disease could spread in the region.

Related Articles