Brazil Leads South America’s Yellow Fever Outbreak
Stamaril yellow fever vaccine has replaced YF-VAX in the USA
The Yellow Fever virus continues to expand in South America. The number of human cases and epizootics reported is now the highest in decades.
As of late October 2017, health officials in Brazil have reported a total of 71 suspected Yellow Fever cases in the São Paulo State.
A total of 43 probable Yellow Fever cases are still under investigation in Brazil, as reported by the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).
These new Yellow Fever cases are in addition to Brazil’s 779 confirmed cases, 262 deaths, and 1,659 epizootics cases reported from 2016 through June 2017.
Additionally, South American countries of Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, and Suriname reported Yellow Fever cases.
According to the PAHO, the observed increase in cases is as much related to the local ecosystem, as to the unimmunized populations. Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease that is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Latin America. Cases can be difficult to distinguish from other viral hemorrhagic fevers such as arenavirus, hantavirus or dengue.
Yellow Fever may be transmitted by Ae. aegypti mosquitoes during both the rainy and dry seasons, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Yellow fever symptoms take 3–6 days to develop and include fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches.
About 15% of people who get yellow fever develop serious illness that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.
Because of a depletion of the FDA approved YF-Vax vaccine until mid-2018, the manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur has worked with the CDC to make an alternative 17D-204 yellow fever vaccine available in the USA.
The Stamaril vaccine, which is currently available in 70 countries worldwide, has a clinical efficacy profile similar to YF-VAX.
But, Stamaril, is only available at select locations.
Even with the imported Stamaril vaccine, the USA is not keeping up with consumer demand.
Consequently, fractional dosing of YF vaccine has been proposed as an alternative strategy.
But, fractional dosing of YF-VAX is not recommended in the USA, because there is limited efficacy data.
Consequently, the CDC is suggesting people who are contemplating traveling to Yellow Fever endemic areas should schedule a vaccination appointment at least 2 months before departure.
Once vaccinated, travelers should receive a yellow card called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) to prove that you have had yellow fever vaccine. Some health officials require travelers to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination before entering their country.
Providers and patients may also visit the CDC Travelers' Health for information about which countries require yellow fever vaccination for entry.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.