Africa

Uganda yellow fever outbreak kills more than 40

Coloured scanning electron micrograph of the head of a female yellow fever mosquito (Science Photo Library)
Image caption Yellow fever is transmitted by a type of mosquito that is active only during the day

Yellow fever vaccines are being imported for the north of Uganda to inoculate people against the disease which has killed about 45 people.

People began falling ill about a month ago in nine northern districts, the country's health ministry says.

A health official in Kitgum told the BBC the outbreak was confirmed as yellow fever on Christmas Eve.

The disease, transmitted by infected mosquitoes, was last recorded in Uganda almost 40 years ago, officials say.

Task forces have been put in place in the affected districts and isolation units set up.

Bosco Ochola, chairman of the Kitgum task force, said his staff were treating about 65 infected patients.

"This morning we got a phone call from the Ministry of Health that arrangements are being made from WHO (World Health Organization) to bring vaccines to cover the population," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme

Yellow fever, unlike malaria, is transmitted by a type of mosquito which is active only during the day.

Radio talk shows and dramas were trying to inform people of this, he said.

The health ministry says at least 2.5 million people will be vaccinated when the vials arrive, Uganda's state-owned New Vision newspaper reports.

The disease has a wide array of symptoms from nausea and vomiting to kidney failure, jaundice and bleeding.

About half of those who develop severe symptoms and are untreated die from the disease.

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