Uganda is vaccinating for fear of Ebola virus spread

Ebony Scott
November 9, 2018

By far the worst epidemic was in West Africa in 2014-2016, when 28,000 people were infected and 11,000 died in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.Ebola kills between 20 percent and 70 percent of victims, depending on the strain.

The World Health Organization (WHO), and Ugandan Ministry of Health, have begun vaccinating frontline health workers in the country against Ebola, in a bid to stop an outbreak in the neighbouring Democratic of Congo (DRC) from crossing the border. There are four experimental treatments being tried out in DRC: ZMapp, a cocktail of antibodies that fight the virus; a second cocktail of antibodies called REGN-EB3; a single-antibody drug called mAb114; and an antiviral drug called remdesivir.Supportive care, including replacing fluids and electrolytes lost to diarrhea and vomiting, can also help keep patients alive.This is the second outbreak of Ebola in Congo this year.

"Uganda has taken a very huge step in mitigating the risk of Ebola among health workers".

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

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

The inoculations, using an experimental vaccine, began on Wednesday and are part of a wider Ebola prevention plan in a country that has faced multiple Ebola outbreaks since 2000. These could have been saved had a vaccine been available then.

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The vaccine is, therefore, being used on a compassionate basis, to protect persons at highest risk of the Ebola outbreak, under a "ring vaccination" strategy, which is similar to the approach used to eradicate smallpox.

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.

The targeted districts are Kabarole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko, where there is an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda's health minister, told reporters on Friday that with WHO's support, the east African country has procured over 2,100 of rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccines, and supplementary doses have been requested.

"The vaccine is highly potent and it will protect workers effectively, " Woldemariam said.

Other reports by GizPress

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