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Uganda’s Ebola death toll rises to four

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Uganda's authorities have reassured the public that they have the situation under control (Photo: BBC)
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Health authorities in Uganda said three more Ebola patients have died bringing the total number of deaths to four since declaration of the outbreak last week.

The country’s ministry of health stated in its weekly update that, eleven cases have been confirmed so far.

Seven other deaths are being investigated to see if they’re linked to the outbreak in Mubende west of the capital Kampala.

The World Health Organization says the Ebola Sudan strain which is present in Uganda is less transmissible and has shown a lower fatality rate in previous outbreaks of a different strain, Ebola Zaire.

But it killed nearly more than 2,000 people in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo between 2018 and 2020.

What you should know about Ebola

Ebola is a viral haemorrhagic fever that was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

Five of the virus species are known to cause disease in humans — Zaire, Sudan, Bundibugyo, Reston and Tai Forest.

The first three have resulted in serious outbreaks in Africa.

The virus’ natural reservoir animal is suspected to be a species of fruit bat, which does not itself fall ill but can pass the disease on to primates, including humans. Humans become exposed to the virus if they kill or butcher infected bats for food.

Among humans, the virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.

Those infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear. They become more and more contagious until just after their death, which poses great risks during funerals.

Death rates are high, at around 50 percent on average of those infected, and up to 90 percent for some epidemics, World Health Organization (WHO) data show.

Following an incubation period of between two and 21 days, Ebola develops into a high fever, weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat.

The initial symptoms are often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

Merck’s Ervebo vaccine, the first Ebola jab approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2019, has been shown to be highly effective in protecting people from the Zaire strain.

US group Johnson & Johnson has also reported promising results against the Zaire strain of its two-dose Zabdeno vaccine, which has been authorised for use in the European Union.

In terms of treatment, the WHO in August recommended two life-saving medicines, Inmazeb and Ebanga, which were successfully trialled during Ebola outbreaks

Via Eyeradio

 

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Mundri West school welcomes back 5 pregnant

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Pregnant teenage girl. | Courtesy of Radio Tamazuj.
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A school in Mundri West County has resolved to allow back five pregnant primary eight candidates to continue attending classes until they sit for the nationwide exams.

The expectant pupils of Seventh Day Adventist primary school are aged between 14 and 17.

They had returned from holidays – when the school administration took them for pregnancy tests.

This was after it realized that the pupils often fell asleep while in classrooms and they showed pregnancy signs.

They all tested positive for pregnancy.

“One of them denied that she was pregnant, which forced the school administration to subject them to tests,” said Mashir Agree, the Education Director for Mundri West County.

“After several signs of pregnancy appeared, such as sleeping in the classroom, especially after their return from vacation. After the examination, which included eight students, two of them left school after the test results.”

Mashir said the school administration wanted to send them home, according to the school regulations.

But the parents protested saying, they already paid fees for their daughters and demanded that they continue to prepare for the upcoming final exams.

In 2020, authorities in defunct Maridi State revealed that five girls were forced to terminate their studies after they got pregnant while in school.

According to a State of Adolescents and Youth Report in 2020, three out of ten girls became mothers in South Sudan

via eyeradio

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Chickenpox cases detected at overcrowded Wau prison

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Six inmates at the Wau Main Prison in Western Bahr el Ghazal State have been diagnosed with chickenpox, a senior prisons officer said.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection causing an itchy, blister-like rash on the skin. It is highly contagious to those who haven’t had the disease or been vaccinated against it.

“We have six cases of chickenpox, including one case at the Juvenile Center,” Major General George Gabriel Gilo, Director of Wau Main Prison, told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday.

Gilo attributed the problem to a lack of sanitation due to the overcrowding of prisoners in Wau Central Prison.

“The prison is overcrowded, and as I speak to you now, the facility hosts 776 inmates, and cells are not enough. So it is very difficult to isolate the infected inmates,” Gilo said.

“I have managed to isolate six people diagnosed with tuberculosis, but with this skin disease, we have not done the isolation. We conducted some awareness last week and agreed that those with chickenpox should maintain social distancing,” he said.

“The main challenge facing us inside the prison here is that we don’t have a sewage tanker. Two weeks ago, the latrines got full and overflowed and it was a problem, especially accessibility by those who have been leg cuffed,” he said.

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Mayom County receives over 3,000 anthrax vaccine doses

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Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF), an International Non-Governmental Organization, last week started rolling out 3,400 anthrax vaccine doses for cattle and other livestock in Mayom County in Unity State, a state official said.

Johnson Bol, the director general of the ministry of animal resources and fisheries in Unity State, confirmed receipt of the vaccines and said the vaccination campaign targets over 8,450 livestock.

“We have started a plan for a livestock vaccination campaign for the next year in June 2023 to vaccinate animals against anthrax,” he said. “As you have heard, flooding affected animals in Mayom County and anthrax broke out five months ago and it was confirmed by the state ministry of health through the national laboratory. So, there is a need to vaccinate animals against anthrax.”

Meanwhile, Francis Kamau, VSF’s emergency response officer, said they plan to vaccinate cattle and other livestock including sheep and goats.

“What we have donated is anthrax vaccines and medicine for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), black quarter, and hemorrhagic septicemia,” he said. “These vaccines are for animals and small ruminants”

Kamau however advised the public not to consume meat from dead animals due to the ongoing infection.

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. It occurs naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals.

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