Ethiopian Yellow Fever Outbreak Claims 10 Lives

Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into select countries

Ethiopia children

The deadly mosquito-borne yellow fever disease has killed 10 people in southwestern Ethiopia, reports Tom Miles with Reuters.   

Additionally, there are 35 suspected cases of the disease. 

In reaction to this news, the World Health Organization (WHO) said they are releasing 1.45 million doses of yellow fever vaccine for a mass campaign. 

The WHO said this vaccination campaign needs to take place "without further delay", reported Reuters. 

This yellow fever virus outbreak was confirmed in Wolaita Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, which is located in eastern Africa.   

Yellow fever virus is a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by Aedes mosquito species. It is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes yellow fever, which is an acute infectious disease.   

"This outbreak is of concern since the population of Ethiopia is highly susceptible to yellow fever due to the absence of recent exposure and lack of large-scale immunization," the WHO report said. 

Additionally, the WHO said there was a ‘risk’ of further spread of the disease, partly because of conflict in the region. 

But, there is some good news on the horizon regarding vaccine availability. 

During September 2018, Sanofi Pasteur, the producer of the YF-VAX® Yellow Fever Vaccine, said the supply should return to the USA by mid-2019. 

Sanofi said in a press statement that “With the most recent testing complete and the progress of the current validation activities confirmed, we adjusted our expectations for the return to the supply of YF-VAX vaccine.” 

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 15 percent of people who get yellow fever develop serious illness that can be fatal. 

Providers and patients can visit CDC Travel for information about which countries require yellow fever vaccination for entry and for which countries the CDC recommends yellow fever vaccination.

As of October 30, 2018, the CDC had not issued a Travel Alert for Ethiopia.   

Additionally, on October 29, 2018, the US State Department issued a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, Travel Advisory for Ethiopia.

And, the State Department says visitors to Ethiopia should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated, says the CDC. 

To schedule a travel vaccination appointment, please visit Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information.

And, vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.