News article

Yellow Fever in South West Africa

In response to recent outbreaks of Yellow Fever a World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Committee (EC) was convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations by teleconference on 19 May 2016.

The following affected States Parties participated in the information session of the meeting: Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 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, China and Kenya. The Committee was provided with additional information on the evolving risk of urban yellow fever in Africa and the status of the global stockpile of yellow fever vaccine.


After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, it was the decision of the Committee that the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a serious public health event which warrants intensified national action and enhanced international support. The Committee decided that based on the information provided the event does not at this time constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

ICAN would like to remind its Southern African members particularly in Namibia to be vigilant because of the traffic  and movement of people between Angola and Namibia. While today yellow fever is not as lethal as other viral haemorrhagic fevers, in the past it has been known to cause deaths due to severe haemolysis and renal failure. Immunization with yellow fever vaccine is highly effective, and provides immunity for up to 10 years. It is worthwhile getting immunised particularly for those living in a high malaria and mosquito area and where there is close contact with yellow fever cases.

The full WHO update statement is available here.  Links to other relevant WHO materials and information can be found below.

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