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An outbreak of yellow fever has been confirmed in the Wolaita Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ (SNNP) Region of Ethiopia, located in the south-western part of the country.

Ethiopia, Africa

Since the index case in late August,  35 suspected yellow fever cases have been reported in two woredas of Wolaita Zone in the SNNP Region.  In addition, ten deaths were recorded (case fatality ratio 28.6%), including six in health facilities and four in the community.

The International Coordinating Group (ICG) has approved 1.45 million doses of yellow fever vaccine from the global emergency vaccine stockpile for a mass reactive vaccination campaign, targeting 1.34 million people in nine districts of two zones (Gamo Gofa and Wolaita). Microplanning and other activities regarding the campaign are ongoing, including public awareness.

An immediate reactive vaccination campaign was conducted in Offa Woreda in mid-October 2018, targeting 31 365 people and attained a coverage of 99.2%.

Although the affected areas are rural, with a low population density, ongoing population and livestock movements due to conflicts in the region constitute a risk for further spread.

Health infrastructure and healthcare seeking behavior are sub-optimal in the affected areas, which probably contributed to the relatively high mortality rate.