21 Deaths Recorded as Yellow Fever hits Democratic Republic of Congo

A total of Twenty-one yellow fever death cases have been recorded in Democratic Republic of Congo, some of them from infections contracted in neighbouring Angola, the World Health Organization said.

An outbreak has already killed 225 people and infected 1,600 in Angola. There was now a high risk of further spread in Congo, given the number of people who regularly travel between the two countries, the health body said.

WHO said that from early January to 22 March 2016, a total of 151 suspected cases of Yellow Fever, including 21 deaths (CFR: 14%), were reported by the national surveillance system. Of the 151 suspected cases, 9 were confirmed by serology (IgM) at the Institute National Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa.

The Ministry of Health of DRC has activated the National Committee for outbreak management to respond to this event. Undertaken activities include the establishment of coordination mechanisms, social mobilization and community engagement, strengthening surveillance through the training of health workers, dissemination of case definitions, screening and sanitary controls at Points of Entry and screening of refugees’ vaccination status.

WHO has urged Members States especially those where the establishment of a local cycle of transmission is possible (i.e. where the competent vector is present) to strengthen the control of immunization status of travellers to all potentially endemic areas.