The world Health Organization has warned travelers to Angola to get vaccinated amid rising concern over a deadly outbreak of yellow fever spreading from the country.
At least 258 people have been killed and around 1,975 suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported since an epidemic erupted in December 2015. It has already grown to become the worst outbreak in decades.
Angola’s outbreak has already spread to other countries in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and at least 11 cases of yellow fever have been imported into China in people travelling from Angola. This according to WHO.
Yellow fever is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that spread the Zika and dengue viruses; although it is a far more serious disease with death rates as high as 75 percent in severe cases requiring admission to hospital.
The WHO’s regional office for Africa said last week that yellow fever in people who travelled from Angola has been reported in China (11 cases), DRC (10 cases with 1 in Kinshasa) and Kenya (2 cases)
The WHO “is working with neighbouring countries such as the DRC, Namibia and Zambia to bolster cross-border surveillance with Angola and information sharing to prevent and reduce the spread of infection”, it said.
Experts are warning the world’s stocks of yellow fever vaccines are under sever pressure form the outbreak, with some calling for a radical switch in strategy to use a tenth of the normal dose and aim to cover more people.