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Uganda Virus Research Institute


UVRI/CDC Plague Program

UVRI/CDC Plague Program


  • The main objective of the Plague Program, located in Arua, is to gain a better understanding of plague ecology and epidemiology in the West Nile Region and to use this knowledge to develop appropriate diagnostics, patient treatment and care guidelines, and effective public health interventions.
  • In 2014, the plague program widened its scope to include investigations on other zoonotic and vector borne diseases of importance to the West Nile region of Uganda.  With infrastructure improvements in 2018, the UVRI Arua Field Station is well positioned to continue to expand the scope of public health and research activities.

The Plague Program has three scientific departments, Ecology, Epidemiology and Laboratory, which work together to achieve the program’s objectives and goals, including:

1) Surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, control, education, and prevention of plague and other vector borne and zoonotic diseases in the West Nile Region.

2) Routine diagnostics and evaluation of new diagnostics for plague and other zoonotic diseases including leptospirosis, brucellosis, and malaria among others.

3) Research to understand the diversity and distribution of plague hosts, vectors and environmental factors contributing to plague occurrence in the West Nile Region of Uganda and develop improved surveillance and management strategies for its control.

Select activities:

  • Evaluation of housing structure for rodent exclusion and characterization of nesting locations and points of rodent entry in houses.
  • Development of community-based rat-fall surveillance system for early detection and response to plague.
  • Development and evaluation of cheap vector control interventions.
  • Evaluation of ciprofloxacin as effective therapy for human plague compared to doxycycline.
  • Engagement with traditional healers to remove stigma and promote early referral of possible plague cases to health clinics.
  • Investigation into causes of febrile illnesses in the West Nile Region of Uganda.
  • Evaluation of the validity of rapid diagnostic tests for plague.
  • Ongoing active surveillance for plague in human and animal populations.

List of Funders

  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)