Uganda vaccinates front-line health operatives against Ebola

An electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell

An electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell

As of November 4, DRC had registered a total of 285 Ebola cases, with a total of 200 deaths.

More than 26,000 people in the DRC have been inoculated in a "ring vaccination" policy in which those who have been in contact with an Ebola patient are vaccinated.

Ebola broke out in Eastern DRC province in August this year and it has since killed about 200 people according to World Health Organization report and it reportedly continues to spread to areas close to Uganda.

The deteriorating security situation in the DRC has complicated efforts to get the Ebola outbreak under control: across the country, local populations and humanitarian workers assisting them have come under attacks by armed groups, necessitating the deployment of a large United Nations peacekeeping mission.

In vaccinating frontline health workers against EVD even before Uganda detects a single case explains that health authorities are being cautious having learnt bitter lessons from previous outbreaks.

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

Ebola was first reported in Congo in 1976 and is named for the river where it was recognized.

While the vaccine is not available for public use and is considered experimental, it's being handed out under a compassionate use program, the World Health Organization said.

Several studies have shown that the vaccine is safe and protective against the Ebola virus but more scientific research is needed before it can be licensed.

Uganda's Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said she believes that the administration of the Ebola vaccine to frontline healthcare workers has been the missing link in the country's EVD preparation and readiness efforts.

At least some 3,000 frontline health workers in the five high-risk districts of Kabarole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo, and Ntoroko, which border the DRC, are targeted.

No cases have been reported in Uganda so far, but health care workers in high-risk districts bordering the Congo are getting vaccinated as a precaution, health officials said.

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

He assured of its potency and ability to protect them effectively.

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