African experts discuss combating yellow fever epidemic in Uganda
KAMPALA - Health experts from 17 African countries met here Wednesday to discuss strategies to eliminate yellow fever epidemic on the continent.
Ruth Aceng, Uganda's minister of health, told reporters that most African countries are grappling with yellow fever outbreaks.
Among the strategies is to have epidemiological data that will guide the introduction of the yellow fever vaccine into the routine immunisation for countries that are interested, Aceng said.
She said the experts will streamline diagnosis of yellow fever through reference laboratories, diagnosis standardisation and coming up with resolutions for African countries to contain yellow fever outbreaks.
Meanwhile the International Coordination Group that manages global stock piles of yellow fever vaccines on Tuesday delivered vaccines to Uganda in an effort to curb the outbreak that has hit four districts in the country.
Aceng told reporters that the vaccines will be used in the districts of Buliisa, Maracha, Yumbe and Moyo, where the outbreak has so far killed three people since Jan. 24
Aceng said the ministry has applied to the Global Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) for inclusion of the yellow fever vaccination into the country's routine immunisation schedule.
The yellow fever is mostly caused by a type of mosquitoes called "Aedes Aepyti" found in the tropics and sub-tropics. It is transmitted from person to person through mosquitoes, although there is also transmission among forest monkeys.
According to the WHO, symptoms of the disease include high fever, headache, general body aches, fatigue, vomiting, blood in urine or stool and yellow discolouration of skin or eyes. If not detected and treated on time, the disease will affect the blood and the victims will experience renal failure and possible coma.