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Published On: Sat, Jun 15th, 2013

Yellow fever outbreak in DRC prompts mass vaccination campaign

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is launching an emergency mass vaccination campaign against yellow fever from 20 June 2013, following laboratory confirmation of six cases in the country on 6 June 2013.

Democratic Republic of Congo Image/CIA

Democratic Republic of Congo Image/CIA

The mass vaccination campaign aims to cover at least 503,426 people in the three affected health zones of Lubao, Kamana and Ludimbi-Lukula, where cases have been confirmed.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the six laboratory-confirmed cases were reported from 3 health zones: Lubao (4 cases), Kamana (1 case) and Ludimbi-Lukula (1 case). They were identified through the national surveillance program for yellow fever. The laboratory confirmation was done by the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, a WHO regional reference laboratory for yellow fever.

Preliminary outbreak investigation revealed that the index case is a 16-year-old boy from Kisengua village in the Lubao Health Zone who became ill on 1 March 2013. The outbreak investigation team has also identified 51 suspected cases including 19 deaths, in the three health zones. Serum samples have been taken from 13 patients and are being analyzed in the Institute National of Biomedical Research (INRB).

According to the CDC, yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe liver disease with bleeding. Yellow fever disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings, laboratory testing, and travel history, including the possibility of exposure to infected mosquitoes.

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever; care is based on symptoms. Steps to prevent yellow fever virus infection include using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and getting vaccinated.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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