The World Health Organization (WHO) African region recently published an update on yellow fever in the region, here are some of the highlights of the report:
In 2022, 12 countries in the WHO African region have reported outbreaks of yellow fever (Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Uganda). Eight of these countries are experiencing a continuation of transmission from 2021 (Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Nigeria, and Republic of the Congo) and four countries are newly reporting confirmed cases (Kenya, Niger, Sierra Leone and Uganda). One country, Gabon, reported cases in 2021, but no further cases were registered in 2022 indicating the end of the outbreak in Gabon.
From 1 January 2021 to 19 December 2022, a total of 203 confirmed and 252 probable cases with 40 deaths (CFR 9%) have been reported to WHO from 13 countries in the WHO African Region, with 49 additional plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) positive samples currently pending classification.
The overall YF vaccination coverage in the region is not sufficient to provide herd immunity. According to WHO and UNICEF estimates (WUENIC), in 2021 the YF routine immunization coverage in the African region for childhood vaccinations was 48%, much lower than the 80% threshold required to confer population immunity against YF indicating the presence of an underlying susceptible population at risk of YF and a risk of continued transmission. Country vaccination coverages (WUENIC) are estimates for 2021 as: Cameroon (54%), Central Africa Republic (41%), Chad (45%), Congo (67%), Côte d’Ivoire (65%), Democratic Republic of Congo (56%), Gabon (64%), Ghana (94%), Kenya (7%), Niger (80%), Nigeria (63%) and Sierra Leone 85%, (Uganda NA).
Vaccination is the primary means for prevention and control of YF. The countries reporting YF cases and outbreaks are all high priority countries for the Eliminate YF Epidemic (EYE) strategy. These countries have introduced YF vaccination into their routine immunization schedule for those aged 9 months, and also requirements of proof of vaccination against YF for all incoming travellers >= 9 months, except Chad and Nigeria, who request proof of vaccination only for travellers coming from countries with a risk of YF transmission. Review of the risk analysis and scope of immunization activities to protect the population could help avert the risk of future outbreaks.
Read more at WHO
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever that is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
Symptoms of yellow fever (fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches) develop 3-6 days after infection. About 12% of people infected with yellow fever virus will develop severe illness that can lead to liver disease, bleeding, shock, organ failure, yellowing skin (jaundice), and sometimes death. Among those who develop severe disease, 30-60% die.
If you develop any of these symptoms, seek healthcare immediately.
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