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Uganda, at high risk for Ebola, is beginning to vaccinate the paramedics


Rodney Muhumuza, the Associated Press

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 6:30 EST

Kampala, Uganda – Uganda has begun vaccinating health workers against Ebola in the border area near the outbreak in the Congo, where a very viral disease has been identified and killed 189 people.

The vaccines, using an experimental vaccine, began on Wednesday and are part of a broader Ebola prevention program in a country that has been coping with Ebola outbreaks since 2000.

In recent months, Ebola cases have been confirmed near the vast border between Uganda and the Congo, where 270 cases have been reported in the northeast of the country since August.

Vaccines are critical for transmitting the transmission "in a high endometrial belt for hemorrhagic fever," said Anthony Mboni, a professor of health sciences at the University of Makriar, Uganda.

The two weekly market days – during which some 10,000 Congolese go to Uganda – placed Uganda at high risk, according to local health officials. According to them, the unofficial border crossings are also a source of concern.

Health workers are usually among the first to be infected with the Ebola outbreak.

The death of a young Ugandan doctor in August 2000, one of 200 people killed in the same outbreak, provoked a national outburst of grief and helped spread awareness of how Ebola was being transported.

Uganda's ongoing health-focused vaccines on the front will be carried out in five districts along the border with Congo. Several studies have shown that the vaccine is safe and protects against the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization said in a statement.

The vaccine, though subject to more scientific research and still not yet licensed, is "used on compassionate grounds to protect people at greatest risk of Ebola outbreaks," the statement said.

In Congo, where thousands of people received the experimental Ebola vaccine, an alarming number of immunized health workers were infected.

The World Health Organization said last month that the outbreak of the Congo was still unjustified to be declared a global emergency, but called for an "increased" response. Dozens of others have died since then, according to a report released by the Congolese Ministry of Health.

For Congo health workers, the fight against the virus has proved a challenge in a densely populated area that is roamed by armed groups.

The researchers believe that Ebola's first victim at the outbreak of acquiring the virus after coming into contact with the animal "reservoir" says an infected bat or a monkey.

Ebola was first reported in the Congo in 1976 and named after the river where it was known.

Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with infected person's fluids, or objects that are contaminated with infected discharge.

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