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EBOLA: UPDF Soldiers Vaccinated

UPDF Soldiers vaccinated before confirmation of Ebola Sudan strain in Uganda. Photo by Daily Monitor

Soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been vaccinated against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the Commander of the country’s armed forces has revealed. 

Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed the outbreak of Ebola in the District of Mubende last week.

In his address to the nation on the Ebola outbreak, President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni announced that as of September 27, 2022, there were 24 confirmed cases of EVD and only five deaths from the districts of Mubende, Kyegegwa and Kassanda.

Gen Museveni also noted that six healthcare workers – four doctors, one anesthesiologist, and medical intern — had been infected after exposure to the index case between September 15 and 18. These health workers are being managed at the regional referral hospitals of Mubende and Fort Portal.

The president attributed the transmission in Madudu Sub County of Mubende District and in other districts to exposure at burials and family interactions following the death of people suspected to have lost battles to the Ebola Virus Disease.

He also talked of vaccination against Ebola.

The current Ebola outbreak in Uganda has been linked to the Sudan strain which does not have an approved vaccine. But the Zaire strain has a vaccine.

It is the Zaire vaccine that UPDF officers in DR Congo have been inoculated with.

There is a vaccine for Ebola Zaire, we have used it on our soldiers who are in Congo. We are discussing whether we should use it to vaccinate against Ebola Sudan,” said Gen Museveni. 

It was not clear if the UPDF officers have been vaccinated in recent days in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Uganda or if the inoculation was done a few weeks before the confirmation of the viral hemorrhagic disease in the country.

But at the end of August 2022, MoH launched the vaccination of Ugandan soldiers fighting the ADF in DR Congo.

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng then told reporters that about 10,000 soldiers would be vaccinated.

The drive to inoculate UPDF officers came was undertaken after the World Health Organization (WHO) gave Uganda 12,000 doses of Mark Vaccine which boosts immunity against the Zaire strain of Ebola.

Gen Museveni also revealed that Uganda’s government officials were mulling over the use of trial Ebola vaccines for the current EVD outbreak.

President Museveni has also made it clear that there will be no Ebola lockdown in Uganda. (Read Story Here).

Meanwhile, an Ebola patient who escaped from the Mubende Isolation Unit recently collapsed while his colleague had reportedly crossed to Tanzania. (Read Story Here).

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