POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES (11.19.2021, 4:50pm CEST, WHO):   India 11,106    Brazil 11,977    United Kingdom 46,858    Russia 37,156    Turkey 22,234    France 19,840    Argentina 1,553    Germany 52,970    Spain 3,932    Columbia 2,257    Italy 10,645    Mexico 3,836    Ukraine 20,050    Poland 23,242    Philippines 1,297    Malaysia 6,380    Netherlands 23,680    Peru 1,370    Thailand 6,855    Czechia 13,374    Canada 2,448    Romania 3,076    Chile 2,611    Serbia 3,219    Sweden 1,210    Portugal 2,398    Vietnam 10,223    Kazakhstan 1,272    Austria 14,212    Hungary 11,289    Greece 7,276    Georgia 4,278    Bulgaria 2,785    Belarus 1,844    Slovakia 7,418    Azerbaijan 2,124    Croatia 7,270    Bolivia 1,119    Ireland 4,646    Lithuania 1,847    Denmark 4,013    South Korea 3,034    Slovenia 3,662    Latvia 1,221    Laos 1,401    China 31    New Zealand 200    Australia 1,302   

Yellow Fever outbreak on brink of going global

Staff Writer |
The largest Yellow Fever epidemic in decades is hitting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola, and could soon spread to the Americas, Asia and Europe, Save the Children warns.

Article continues below






The organization's rapid response Emergency Health Unit (EHU) has deployed to support the DRC's Ministry of Health with a mass vaccination campaign in the capital city of Kinshasa.

The campaign is part of a last line of defense to stop the deadly virus spreading through the overcrowded city of more than 10 million.

The virus is a hemorrhagic fever and has claimed nearly 500 lives to date, with thousands of suspected cases. Alarmingly, the World Health Organization warns those figures could actually be 10 to 50 times higher.

Yellow Fever is spread by mosquitoes, making rapid transmission in a hot, humid city like Kinshasa very likely, particularly when the rainy season starts next month and mosquito numbers spike.

The outbreak is the largest to hit the region for 30 years and has all but emptied global emergency stocks of vaccines. There are only 7 million emergency vaccines available for this campaign – too few to fully cover Kinshasa, let alone all of the DRC.

"There is no known cure for Yellow Fever and it could go global," said Heather Kerr, Save the Children's Country Director for the DRC. "The mass vaccination campaign in Kinshasa needs to take place now so that we can try and stop Yellow Fever from spreading by land and air to more cities in Africa, and across the world."

Approximately 20 percent of people who have caught Yellow Fever during this outbreak have died. The final stages of the virus can cause bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, organ failure and a condition known as jaundice, a yellowing of skin and eyes which originally gave the disease its name.

Save the Children's 11-member rapid deployment EHU is staffed by experts from countries including Italy, China, Korea and the United States. They will support a vaccination campaign run by the DRC's Ministry of Health, targeting nearly half a million people in Kinshasa for approximately 10 days.

Experts will also provide technical support to Ministry of Health staff by helping to secure the country's 'cold chain': shuttling scarce supplies of vaccines to the vaccination sites while keeping them cold using a network of freezers and cool boxes. In addition, the EHU experts will treat the medical waste resulting from the campaign.

The same team successfully supported the Ministry of Health in vaccinating more than 221,000 people in the town of Boma in western DRC in May.

Following advice from the World Health Organization, Save the Children will provide support for the vaccination campaign that uses just one-fifth of a regular dose – to reach as many children and families as possible with the limited supplies that remain.

A full dose of vaccine provides lifetime immunity; the smaller, so-called 'fractionalized' dose provides stop-gap immunity for about a year.


What to read next

Yellow fever
Invasive mosquito species spread in California
Brazil on health alert after dozens come down with yellow fever