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Disease Outbreak News

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yellow fever in Cameroon and in Ghana

Yellow fever in Cameroon

3 February 2012 - In December 2011, the Ministry of Health of Cameroon notified WHO of a yellow fever outbreak in the North Region of the country.

A total of 23 cases, including 7 deaths, have been reported to have occurred since October 2011 in Guider, Bibemi, Gaschiga, Lagdo, Mayo Oulo and Golombe districts. These cases were identified as part of the surveillance system, with fever and jaundice within the 14 days of onset.

At least 13 cases from six health districts were laboratory confirmed at the Institute Pasteur of Cameroon by IgM ELISA test, which was followed by the seroneutralizing test (PRNT), the most specific test for yellow fever, and by differential diagnostic for dengue and West Nile Virus conducted in the WHO regional reference laboratory for yellow fever, the Institute Pasteur of Dakar, Senegal.

WHO country office has been working with the government/health authorities in the outbreak field investigation to confirm the cases and assess the extent of the outbreak.

GAVI Alliance, UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (YF-ICG) are supporting a reactive mass vaccination campaign which aims to cover over 1.2 million people in 8 health districts considered at high risk, namely Guider, Bibemi, Gaschiga, Lagdo, Mayo Oulo, Garoua I Garoua II, and Golombe.

The vaccination campaign began on 23 January 2012, covering these 8 health districts which were not covered in the 2009 preventive mass vaccination campaign because they have no history of yellow fever outbreak or yellow fever virus circulation.

Yellow fever in Ghana

3 February 2012 - On 20 December 2011, the Ministry of Health of Ghana notified WHO of a yellow fever (YF) outbreak occurring in 3 districts; Builsa and Kassena-Nankana-West in the Upper East Region and Kitampo-South in the Brong Ahafo Region located in the mid-western part of the country.

A total of three laboratory-confirmed cases, including two deaths, have been detected by yellow fever surveillance, with the clinical syndrome of fever and jaundice.

The index case, reported from the Kassena-Nankana-West district, was a 12 year-old male who had been going with his father to his farm in a forest bordering Burkina Faso. Onset of symptoms occurred on 11 October 2011 and progressively got worse until he died in Sandema Hospital on 18 October 2011. District outbreak teams investigated the affected areas but found no additional cases.

A reactive campaign has been planned starting 6 February 2012, supported by the International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (YF-ICG) and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). Over 235 000 people in the affected districts have been targeted for vaccination, with the exclusion of pregnant women and children aged under one year.

This activity will complement the two-phased YF preventive mass campaign undertaken by the country. The first phase was conducted in November 2011 and targeted a population of 5.8 million people covering 40 districts (8 regions). A YF reactive campaign was carried out in 3 more districts. The second phase, planned for this year, seeks to target 1.7 million people spanning 17 districts.

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