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The exercise, which began on Tuesday, is centred around five high-risk districts of Uganda that border the DRC (Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kasese, Ntoroko and Bunyangabu) and involves the administering of 2,100 doses of vaccine to health workers, protecting them against the particular strain of Ebola now circulating in some parts of DRC.

According to the World Health Organization, no less than 2,100 doses of experimental rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine are now available in the east African country, while supplementary doses have been requested.

The mission will visit the eastern province of North Kivu, where the focus of the current outbreak of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus is located.

Ugandan officials say twice-weekly market days _ during which 10,000 Congolese cross into Uganda _ have put the country at high risk.

Health workers are usually among the first to be infected in an Ebola outbreak. Several studies have shown that the vaccine is safe and protects against the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization said in a statement.

The exercise which will start from Thursday in Ntoroko district will initially be implemented in the five high-risk districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The vaccine is only used under "compassionate use" although it is not commercially licensed.

In 2015, the vaccine was given to over 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe and the United States. These could have been saved had a vaccine been available then.

In Congo, where thousands of people have been given the experimental Ebola vaccine, a worrying number of vaccinated health workers have been infected.

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and Congo, and gets its name from a river in the latter nation.

It is highly likely that Uganda may import EVD from DRC given the closeness of the current epicenter, the high population movements due to trade, social-cultural connections and easy accessibility of health services in Uganda.

He assured of its potency and ability to protect them effectively.

In December 2000, Lukwiya, a medical superintendent of Lacor Hospital in the northern district of Gulu, died along with 12 nurses after contracting the highly contagious disease, which is transmitted through contact with body fluids.


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