WHO puts concerns of yellow fever on a high

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo is a serious public health event, but does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) at this time.

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An Emergency Committee regarding yellow fever was convened by WHO director-general under the International Health Regulations (2005) by teleconference on Thursday.

World Health Organization
World Health Organization

WHO Secretariat briefed the Committee on the history and impact of the Yellow Fever Initiative, the urban outbreak of yellow fever in Luanda, Angola and its national and international spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), China and Kenya.

After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, it was the decision of the committee that the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and DRC is a serious public health event which warrants intensified national action and enhanced international support.

While not considering the event currently to constitute a PHEIC, members of the committee strongly emphasized the serious national and international risks posed by urban yellow fever outbreaks and offered technical advice on immediate actions for the consideration of WHO and member states.

The committee called to accelerate the surveillance, mass vaccination, risk communications, community mobilization, vector control and case management measures in Angola and DRC and make sure yellow fever vaccination of all travellers, and especially migrant workers, to and from Angola and DRC.

It also called on the intensification of surveillance and preparedness activities, including verification of yellow fever vaccination in travellers and risk communications, in at-risk countries and countries having land borders with the affected countries.

The committee also emphasized the need to manage rapidly any new yellow fever importations, thoroughly evaluate ongoing response activities, and quickly expand yellow fever diagnostic and confirmatory capacity.

Source: Xinhua

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