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Yellow Fever in Angola (Update)

03 Jun 2016

The major outbreak of YF (yellow fever) in Angola is continuing. Since the first cases were reported in December 2015 in Luanda province, there have been 2893 suspected cases (788 confirmed) and 325 deaths up until 1 June 2016.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ministry of Health confirmed cases of YF in connection with Angola on 22 March 2016. As of 1 June 2016 the DRC has reported 52 laboratory confirmed cases of YF and 3 probable cases, 44 of which were imported from Angola.

The YF cases in Angola and DRC are largely concentrated in main cities; however there is a high risk of spread to other provinces in both countries. There is also a high risk of potential spread to bordering countries including those previously classified as low-risk for YF disease (i.e. Namibia, Zambia).

A total of 3 countries have reported confirmed YF cases imported from Angola: DRC (44 cases), People’s Republic of China (11 cases) and Kenya (2 cases). This highlights the risk of international spread through non-immunised travellers.

A further 3 countries have reported suspected cases of YF: Congo (1 case), Sao Tome and Principe (2 cases) and Ethiopia (22 cases); investigations are ongoing to determine if they are linked with Angola.

Following the advice of the Emergency Committee convened on 19 May 2016, the WHO Director General determined that urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and DRC are serious public health events which warrant intensified national action and enhanced international support. These events are not currently considered to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Advice for Travellers

Yellow fever infection can easily be prevented by vaccination. Vaccination is advised for all travellers to Angola (unless contraindicated) and proof of vaccination is required for all travellers over 9 months of age entering Angola. The vaccine should be administered at least 10 days before travelling and Angola considers the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) to be valid for life.

It is essential that travellers also take steps to avoid mosquito bites.