Yellow fever outbreak in Africa ‘warrants continued national action and international support’: WHO
The increase in Africa’s serious yellow fever outbreak appears to have slowed but it remains a serious public health event, the World Health Organization says.
After the U.N. agency’s emergency committee met on Wednesday to assess the outbreak, it concluded the mosquito-spread outbreak does not qualify as an international public health emergency.
“Despite the considerable progress made, the Committee concluded that the outbreak remains a serious public health event which warrants continued national action and international support. Furthermore, the imminent onset of the rainy season will intensify vector activity, thus raising subregional risks of yellow fever transmission,” WHO said in a release.
- Massive yellow fever vaccination campaign begins in Congo
- 7 key findings from UN’s bungled response to yellow fever
Yellow fever is named after the jaundice that affects some patients.
Since it was first identified in Angola last December, yellow fever has spread to Congo and is believed to have sickened more than 6,300 people and killed about 400.
Millions of doses of vaccine have been sent to Angola to control the outbreak but more is needed.
WHO said the global stockpile of yellow fever vaccine stands at 6 million doses. It is working with vaccine makers and expects the total to rise to 20 million doses by December.
WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said the response to the outbreak needs to be sustained and closely monitored.
The infection is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits Zika and dengue viruses.
There is no specific antiviral drug to treat yellow fever infections. Patients are treated for dehydration, liver and kidney failure and fever.