Usually reliable sources have confirmed what a statement by the Ugandan Ministry of Health said yesterday afternoon already, that at least five cases of yellow fever have been detected in the area around Masaka. Masaka is a town in Central Uganda, lying west of Lake Victoria. It is the chief town of Masaka.
Several other patients have been tested and the results are awaited now.
It was the Uganda Virus Institute in Entebbe which carried out the tests and confirmed the presence of Yellow Fever though samples have reportedly also been sent to the CDC in Atlanta.
It now also appears that the first cases date back to mid March already, raising questions why the information took so long to be made public, almost a month since the first patient fell seriously ill before dying.
The outbreak comes at a bad time for the Ugandan public as the rainy season has set in at full force, often making access to remote rural areas difficult when roads become impassable.
Tourism stakeholders have began to inform their clients that a valid Yellow Fever Inoculation certificate is now mandatory and absolutely required, taking into account that after receiving the shot it takes ten days to become immune to the disease.
As an outbreak country – the presently largest outbreak in Africa is raging across Angola – will passengers traveling from Uganda to third countries now also be required to carry the inoculation certificates or else might risk being singled out on arrival, inoculated at the airport and in a worst case scenario kept in quarantine.
It should be stressed that the outbreak area is already sealed off by Ugandan health authorities and that tourists are most unlikely to come into any contact with infected patients, but due caution is nevertheless advised for visitors to the country.
Relevant statements can be sourced from the website of the Ugandan Ministry of Health while additional information from the Ministry of Tourism and the Uganda Tourism Board are still awaited at this stage.