Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yellow Fever: Uganda

The outbreak of yellow fever in Uganda has led to 50 deaths and at least 190 additional infections in the past weeks. 

To make matters worse, vaccination cards are being sold to those that have not been vaccinated on the black market.  The South African embassy showed that 60% of yellow cards presented with visa applications are found to be fraudulent.  This increases the risk of yellow fever being spread across Uganda borders. 

The business involved with illegal vaccination cards is complex and involves numerous parties.  Oftentimes, the hospital gatekeeper will be involved and sort through possible customers.  The cost of a legitimate vaccine and proof costs Shs 46,000 versus the fake card for a price of Shs 15,000, but no vaccination.

Public health measures are at significant risk, and disease control standards not able to monitored.  Even some senior Uganda government officials are believed to have been in possession of fake vaccination cards.  Apparently, the practice of fake cards originated from a shortage of the vaccine, but the government is now in possession of a strong supply, and the fake cards should definitely not be used in either situation.

Uganda is one of 39 of the 53 African countries at high risk of transmitting yellow fever.

Yellow Fever Virus:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_fever


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