News / Health

    Vaccinations Needed to Stop Yellow Fever Outbreak in Angola

    A bottle containing yellow fever vaccine (2009 file photo)
    A bottle containing yellow fever vaccine (2009 file photo)
    Lisa Schlein

    The World Health Organization reports that an outbreak of yellow fever in Luanda, the capital of Angola, has now spread to seven other provinces as well as to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.  WHO is calling for a large-scale vaccination campaign to stop the spread of the disease.
     
    The latest official figures find the number of confirmed deaths from yellow fever in Angola now stands at 146, with 885 suspected cases.  But, WHO yellow fever expert Sergio Yactayo, who has just returned from a mission in Angola, said these figures are seriously underestimated.
     
    “That is only the point of the iceberg because it means that we can detect only the most severe cases, but there are other cases and you can multiply this number by 10, for example, to have an idea of the part of the problem," Yactayo says.
     
    Most of the deaths and cases are in Luanda, where the outbreak began in early December.  Such outbreaks usually occur in tropical rainforests, when monkeys infected by wild mosquitoes pass the virus on to other mosquitoes.  The infected mosquitoes then bite humans entering the forest.
     
    The U.N. agency said outbreaks of yellow fever in an urban setting are generally more dangerous and difficult to contain because the disease can spread easily from one person to another.  It said a largely unvaccinated population that is bitten by infected mosquitoes can trigger an epidemic.
     
    Vaccination crucial

    Vaccination is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever.  Yactayo said WHO, its partners and the Angolan ministry of health have undertaken a massive vaccination campaign in Luanda, targeting 6.5 million people.  He told VOA this is having positive results.
     
    “In Luanda, this urban severe outbreak will be under control in the following days," he says.  "The problem is in the other provinces in Angola and outside of Angola.  So, the situation is not under control.  There are risks that we need to consider and we need to prevent other things.”

    FILE - Staff members of the Teaching Hospital receive the first vaccination treatment for yellow fever in El Geneina, West Darfur, November 14, 2012 handout.
    FILE - Staff members of the Teaching Hospital receive the first vaccination treatment for yellow fever in El Geneina, West Darfur, November 14, 2012 handout.


    Yactayo said 100 million people in endemic countries in Africa have to be vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks of yellow fever.  But, there is a problem.  He says only 25 million doses of the vaccine are currently available, and much of the $200 million needed to cover the cost of the vaccines and operational costs is yet to be found.
     
    Mosquitoes to blame

    Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  The mosquito that transmits the virus is the same one responsible for the Zika virus, dengue fever and Chikungunya.
     

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil, Jan. 27, 2016.
    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil, Jan. 27, 2016.

    As with Zika, the yellow fever virus is usually very mild and most people that are infected have little or no symptoms.  
    However, about 15 percent of patients become severely ill and up to 50 percent will die if they do not get treatment.

    In the 1990s, the WHO estimates that 200,000 cases of yellow fever, including 30,000 deaths, occurred globally every year, with 90 percent of the cases in Africa.  

    But William Perea, the WHO coordinator for control of epidemic diseases, said there has been a significant decrease in the number of cases and deaths since WHO launched the Yellow Fever Initiative 10 years ago.
     
    “Since 2006, we have vaccinated 105 million people.  That is a huge amount of people in so few years and that is the main reason we do not have any more outbreaks today in West and Central Africa,” he said.
     
    “We need to do this, however, in the rest of the continent.  There are many other countries that are still endemic—middle-level countries.  They are in the order of 12 of them and we really need to increase the pace of vaccinations of these countries.”
     
    Countries in West Africa used to have almost monthly outbreaks of the yellow fever virus.  A mass vaccination campaign was held in the region two years ago.  Since then, the World Health Organization says there has not been a single known case of the disease.
     

     

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora