Johannesburg – The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported at least 21 deaths from yellow fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an outbreak originated and currently occurring in Angola.
From early January to March 2016 there have been 151 suspected cases of yellow fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 21 of those cases resulted in death and some were linked to Angola’s outbreak, according to a report made by WHO.
From the four cases reported in Dakar, a neighboring province with Angola, three resulted positive for the original outbreak, which indicated that the cases were directly imported from the nearest nation.
The infections from travelers expose the world to the international spread of the disease. But, the current information about the spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo does not suggest the establishment of a cycle of transmission, WHO said.
However, the presence of the mosquito able to carry the disease, the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti, the high proportion of individuals susceptible to the infection and the intensity of population movements from and to Angola pose serious risks of the further spread of the disease in the country.
The situation in the neighboring nation
The outbreak in Angola is the most serious one in 30 years, according to Dr. Chan, who visited a vaccination point in Luanda, the city which had the first infected person. To this day, the disease has infected more than 490 people and killed 198.
Even though the infection was first reported in Luanda, yellow fever has spread to 6 of the country’s 18 provinces. Health authorities and WHO representatives have taken measures to control the outbreak by initiating a vaccination campaign against the virus.
“The vaccination campaign has so far been effective. We are seeing case numbers dropping considerably, especially in Luanda,” said Dr Sergio Yactayo, expert on epidemic diseases at WHO, following his mission to Angola. “We need to vaccinate the maximum number of people in Luanda and the affected provinces as possible to stop the spread of this deadly disease,” added Yactayo.
Source: The World Health Organization