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Yellow fever outbreak in Africa strain global vaccine stockpile - WHO

Yellow fever outbreak in Africa strain global vaccine stockpile - WHO

Yellow Fever

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) says, even though they are equipped currently to deal with ongoing outbreaks, the disease in three African countries has placed a huge strain on vaccine supply.

According to the WHO, ‘‘yellow fever outbreaks in Angola, DRC & Uganda are placing unprecedented demands on vax supply for emergency vaccination campaigns,’‘ hence the need for a short-term measure to combat any outbreaks.

The World Health Organisation’s records indicated that more than 300 people have died in Angola in just four months, following the outbreak of the disease detected at the end of last year.

Yellow fever outbreaks in Angola, DRC & Uganda are placing unprecedented demands on vax supply for emergency vaccination campaigns

WHO advisory group speaks on short-term vaccines

The world health body’s advisory group of immunization experts also disclosed that lower doses of the yellow fever vaccine could be used in cases of emergencies.

The experts say, using 1/5 of a standard yellow fever vaccine dose would still offer protection against the disease for a minimum of 12 months or even much longer. They are however quick to add that, ‘‘the approach is under consideration as a short-term measure, in the context of a potential yellow fever vaccine shortage for use in emergencies.’‘

They further caution that the short-term measure is not proposed for routine yellow fever immunization – against the back drop that there was not enough data to show that lower doses would give life-long protection.

WHO however says that it currently has enough vaccines in the global stockpile to cope with the ongoing outbreaks if there are no further extensions.

The disease has already spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and as far as to China, there is an unrelated outbreak in Uganda, generating fears of the mosquito-borne disease jumping to sprawling cities in Asia and Africa.

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and found in tropical regions of Africa and Latin America’s Amazon region. It is believed that the yellow fever mosquito is the same as that which causes the deadly zika virus.