Sunday, November 27, 2016

An end to Yellow Fever Outbreak in the DRC & Angola

Four months have passed without a new case of Yellow Fever in either the DRC and Angola following an outbreak which was first detected in Angola in late 2015. The outbreak caused around 1,000 confirmed cases of infection, and is also associated with another 7,300 cases of suspected infection.

The response to the outbreak was coordinated by an integrated management system consisting of staff from all three levels of the WHO's structural hierarchy, 40,000 volunteers, 8,000 vaccination teams and vaccine stockpiles from a host of health-related organizations.

In the year since the outbreak, over 30 million vaccines have been delivered, with 19 million of these in the first 6 months of the outbreak alone. The "gargantuan effort" this feat required a great deal of willpower, reflective of the risks an outbreak could pose in urban environments, and a novel, risky strategy to vaccine deliver; the emergency use of a fractional dose of the vaccine. Trials based on the yellow fever vaccine previously demonstrated that this use of the vaccine could bestow immunity to individuals for a year or longer, and, so, lent support to the use of this regimen to respond to the outbreak. Financial support from a host of other countries and international organizations also helped to put these response measures in place.

-Muzz Shittu

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