Article by
Dani Reiter
Updated
September 30th, 2019

Yellow Fever Fatality Rate Reaches 31% in Africa

Nigeria reported 27 additional yellow fever cases during 2 weeks

young nigerian children

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 27 additional yellow fever cases across Nigeria during the past 2 weeks.

Overall, about 2,000 suspected yellow fever cases have been reported in Nigeria to the World Health Organization (WHO) during 2019.

This new NCDC information published on September 26, 2019, represents a Case-Fatality-Ratio of 31 percent.

In a conflicting statement, the WHO said ‘there is currently a moderate risk at regional level due to the possible movement of the individuals of affected States to adjacent areas and neighboring countries, particularly if there is the arrival of unvaccinated visitors to the State.’

The WHO says ‘vaccination is the primary intervention for prevention and control of yellow fever. Yellow fever vaccines recommended by WHO are safe, highly effective and provide life-long protection against infection.’

To combat this deadly outbreak, a 4-year national yellow fever Preventive Mass Vaccination Campaign plan is currently being implemented.

Dr. Clement Peter, Officer in Charge, WHO Nigeria, said in a related press release, “We encourage all eligible persons to come forward and get vaccinated.”

But, the WHO ‘does not recommend any restrictions on travel or trade to Nigeria on the basis of the information available on this yellow fever outbreak.’

From a different perspective, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Travel information for Nigeria on August 20, 2019, suggesting pre-trip vaccinations should include the Stamaril Yellow Fever vaccine for all travelers older than 9 months of age.

The US CDC says ‘those never vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid travel to Nigeria during the outbreak.’

Additionally, the Canadian and United Kingdom (UK) governments issued similar Travel Advisories regarding Nigeria’s yellow fever outbreak.

And, to ensure full protection is realized from this deadly virus, the CDC says the Stamaril vaccine should be administered at least 10 days before entering an endemic area.

The NCDC says a booster dose of approved yellow fever vaccine cannot be required of international travelers as a condition of entry.

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Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and has the potential to spread rapidly and cause serious public health impact. Symptoms take 3–6 days to develop after infection, and some people who get yellow fever develop serious illnesses including bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.

According to previous research, there are 7 yellow fever genotypes: 5 in Africa and 2 in the Americas. Most studies confirm Africa is the origin of the YF virus. 

The East African strain is the oldest and probably diverged from an ancestral flavivirus about 3,500 years ago. West African strains were separated from East African ones about 3 centuries before the alleged introduction of the virus into the Americas. 

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment, says the CDC.

Supportive care is required to treat dehydration, respiratory failure, and fever, and antibiotics are recommended to treat associated bacterial infections.

According to the US CDC, the Yellow fever vaccine (Stamaril) availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance.

Yellow fever vaccinations can be scheduled at local pharmacies at Vax-Before-Travel.  

In addition to Nigeria’s yellow fever outbreak, it is facing several concurrent public health emergencies, including circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus, measles, cholera, and Lassa fever outbreaks.

Additionally, the CDC says visitors to Nigeria should ensure they are current with certain vaccines, such as Routine Vaccines, Polio and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

Furthermore, vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Malaria and Typhoid should be considered when visiting Nigeria.

The CDC says any vaccine can cause side effects, which should be reported to a healthcare provider or to the CDC.

Travel vaccine news published by Vax Before Travel