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Uganda To Start Experimental Vaccine For Ebola Along With DRC

The Ebola virus causes a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever.

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Congo, Uganda, ebola
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

Uganda will begin administering the experimental Ebola vaccine to approximately 2,000 health care and front-line workers along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, the Ministry of Health said.

Uganda has no confirmed cases of Ebola, but as the threat worsens in the DRC, the preventive measure is seen as necessary because of heavy border traffic. More than 20,000 people cross from the DRC into Uganda and back every week, the ministry says.

“The public high risk of cross-border transmission of Ebola to Uganda was assessed to be very high at national level,” said Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister for health. “Hence, the need to protect our health workers with this vaccine. Currently in Uganda, we have 2,100 doses of the vaccine available at the National Medical Stores and preparations are in high gear, including training of the health workers that are to be targeted.”

Congo, Uganda, ebola
A health care worker from the World Health Organization, left, gives an Ebola vaccination to a front line aid worker who will then vaccinate people who might potentially have the virus, in Mbandaka, Congo, May 30, 2018.
VOA

Many of those crossing the border are from the DRC’s North Kivu province, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Ugandan border, where armed conflict has made fighting the Ebola outbreak a challenge.

The vaccine, known as rVSV, has been used during recent outbreaks in Congo, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and is currently being dispensed in North Kivu.

Uganda’s Health Ministry says the Ebola vaccine will be given with the consent of Uganda’s health workers, since it is being used outside of clinical trials.

Congo, Uganda, ebola
Photo taken Sept 9, 2018, shows health workers walking with a boy suspected of having the Ebola virus at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Eastern Congo. VOA

Despite being experimental, the vaccine is absolutely safe, Aceng says.

“The vaccine is a recombinant vaccine genetically developed by getting a particle of the Ebola gene, replacing a particle of the gene with another virus called the vesicular stomatitis virus. The vaccine therefore is a genetically modified organism, that is able to replicate and cause antibody production against the Ebola virus but not cause Ebola virus disease,” she explained.

Also Read:Ebola Not A Global Health Emergency: WHO

The Ebola virus causes a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed 250 cases of Ebola — causing 180 deaths — and another 41 suspected cases. (VOA)

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Health Experts Claim, Tuberculosis Can Reduce Chances Of Pregnancy

"It is also important that people thwart the factors that contribute to TB by making their living conditions more hygienic, improving immunity, and having better access to nutrition,"

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To combat the disease, it is essential that diagnostic facilities reach the farthest areas and people made aware of the consequences of contracting TB, said Rajkumar, Consultant Internal Medicine at New Delhi-based Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. Pixabay

Tuberculosis (TB) bacterium primarily affects the lungs, but can also spread and cause secondary infections to the uterus and even the fallopian tubes, which can reduce chances of pregnancy, health experts warned ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day that falls on March 24.

Usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacteria, TB is the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming around 4,400 lives a day.

When the bacteria attacks the uterus, it causes uterine tuberculosis (also known as pelvic TB) which mostly affects women during the child-bearing period and is usually diagnosed during an infertility check-up.

pregnancy
“Also, with medication, women can be helped to conceive through ART, either IVF of or IUI, where intervention can be done to repair the after-effects.” Pixabay

“Women are more often affected than males and due to uterine tuberculosis, two out of 10 females are unable to bear a child,” Shweta Goswami, Infertility Specialist at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“In extreme cases, the uterine lining become so thin that it is unable to bear an implantation resulting in miscarriage,” she added.

Mtb bacteria is transported by blood to other organs including reproductive organs and causes infection in fallopian tubes, uterus or in endometrial lining.

“Tuberculosis has the ability to severely damage the fallopian tubes, if not treated at the initial stage.. it can further lead to serious health complications and also result in infertility,” Goswami said.

Symptoms of TB in uterus include irregular menstruation, pelvic pain, continuous discharge which is stained with blood or without blood with a foul smell and bleeding after intercourse.

A 2018 study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) showed that over 50 per cent of female patients in India coming for IVF procedure have been reported to have genital TB.

The prevalence of genital TB among Indian women has increased from 19 per cent in 2011 to 30 per cent in 2015.

In over 95 per cent of the cases, the infection was found to affect the fallopian tubes, in 50 per cent the endometrium and 30 per cent the ovaries.

Moreover, nearly 75 per cent of women with genital TB were found to be infertile, and 50-60 per cent of women with infertility were found to have genital TB, the report stated.

“Treating uterine TB should be of the utmost importance as soon as it is detected. There is social stigma attached with TB which makes it difficult for people to come openly and talk about it,” said Shobha Gupta, Medical Director and IVF Specialist from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, New Delhi.

There are combined tests which are used to investigate whether a person is suffering from TB which are a combination of AFB smear, culture and PCR for tuberculosis.

TB
When the bacteria attacks the uterus, it causes uterine tuberculosis (also known as pelvic TB) which mostly affects women during the child-bearing period and is usually diagnosed during an infertility check-up. Pixabay

“Also, with medication, women can be helped to conceive through ART, either IVF of or IUI, where intervention can be done to repair the after-effects,” Gupta noted.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Global Tuberculosis Report 2018’, India accounted for 27 per cent of the 10 million people, who had developed TB in 2017, besides making up 32 per cent of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people and 27 per cent of combined TB deaths.

Also Read: British Airways to Launch its Shortest Flight with only 40 Minutes Spent in Air

To combat the disease, it is essential that diagnostic facilities reach the farthest areas and people made aware of the consequences of contracting TB, said Rajkumar, Consultant Internal Medicine at New Delhi-based Indian Spinal Injuries Centre.

“It is also important that people thwart the factors that contribute to TB by making their living conditions more hygienic, improving immunity, and having better access to nutrition,” he added. (IANS)