Uganda (FH/MNN) — After 40 years
without an outbreak, yellow fever has returned to Uganda.
When the illness began coming back, it
did so stealthily last October. Not
much was documented when the first cases started showing up.
As of early January, about 200 cases
have been confirmed, and 50 deaths have been reported. The outbreak is mostly
contained to the northern districts of the country.
It also took the government close to two months to the
secure half the amount of the vaccine required.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health is
conducting a vaccination campaign in the districts of Abim, Agago, Kitgum,
Lamwoo, and Pader. Mass vaccinations of
up to a million people began a week ago.
The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes,
mostly in tropical regions of Africa and the Americas. Yellow fever is best
controlled by vaccination campaigns. Most patients improve three to four days
after symptoms begin, although once it reaches the toxic phase, it usually
results in death. An estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever occur each year
worldwide, resulting in 30,000 deaths.
The Food for the Hungry Emergency Response Unit has
released funds to purchase vaccinations for FH/Uganda staff who work in
affected areas. Seventy staff members will be vaccinated. These vaccines should
provide protection for 30 to 35 years or more. They will continue to closely
monitor the situation as vaccination plans progress.
The Bible does not always give us
a clear reason why disasters occur. However, God has used
disasters throughout history to bring glory to Himself, to draw people to
Himself, to demonstrate His mercy. He is never far when a disaster occurs and
ready to bring beauty out of ashes.