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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Uganda off WHO list of yellow fever risk countries

By Esther Nakkazi

After a month of no evidence of active transmission, Uganda has now been declared yellow fever free.

The ministry of Health says between the 1st to the 30th of June 2016 there were no cases of active transmission in the country. A vaccination coverage of 94 percent, which is above the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended coverage of 90 percent was achieved in the three affected districts of Masaka, Rukungiri and Kalangala.

Following the successful yellow fever vaccination campaign in the affected districts, no new cases have been confirmed, said Professor Anthony Mbonye, the acting director of general health services, Ministry of Health.

A total of 627,706 residents (aged six months and above) were vaccinated including 273,447 in Masaka district and 304,605, 49,654 in Rukungiri and Kalangala districts respectively.

Thereafter, the Public Health Emergencies Operations Centre Network (PHEOC) coordinated a one month enhanced Yellow Fever surveillance in 17 districts surrounding the three districts with no confirmed cases.

However, disease surveillance to detect any other possible outbreak and heightened efforts to prevent the risk of transmission through international travel is still ongoing, said Prof. Mbonye.

It is mandatory that individuals travelling from yellow fever high risk countries into Uganda are fully vaccinated against it before entry into Uganda. Unvaccinated travellers from Uganda are also advised to access the yellow fever vaccine from accredited centres.

On 7th April 2016, yellow fever was confirmed by Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on 3 samples from Masaka by serology. This diagnosis was re-confirmed on 21st April 2016 by CDC Fort Collins (WHO Collaborative Centre for Yellow Fever)

Intensification of yellow fever Surveillance activities also confirmed yellow fever in Rukungiri and Kalangala districts on 13th April 2016 and 4th May 2016 respectively.

From 24th March to 4th May 2016, a total of 65 suspected yellow fever cases were reported from districts in the greater Masaka region and 7 cases were confirmed from Masaka (5), Rukungiri (1) and Kalangala (1). Three of confirmed cases died.

With support from World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC, ICG, GAVI, UNICEF and other partners, the Ministry of Health conducted a reactive yellow fever vaccination in the three districts that had confirmed outbreaks.

The vaccination campaign was implemented from 19th May 2016 to 22nd May 2016 in Masaka and Rukungiri districts and from 4th June 2016 to 7th June 2016 in Kalangala district.

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