, GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept 13 – Yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are “under control” after a massive vaccination campaign involving millions, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday.
Yellow fever has been raging in Angola since December, especially in the capital Luanda, where there have been 875 confirmed cases and 355 deaths.
WHO said there were 75 confirmed cases in DR Congo with 16 deaths.
“The risk of a major outbreak is now over,” the head of WHO’s pandemic and epidemics department, Sylvie Briand, told reporters in Geneva.
The UN health agency had raised alarm over the prospect of a significant outbreak in several countries after the viral haemorrhagic disease began raging in Angola.
Yellow fever subsequently spread into DR Congo and isolated cases were reported in China among people who had travelled to southern Africa.
WHO was particularly concerned because cases were heavily concentrated in major urban centres like Luanda and the Congolese capital Kinshasa.
In an accelerated campaign, 7.7 million people were vaccinated in Kinshasa in less than two weeks.
Separately, 15 million people were immunised across Angola, more than 65 percent of the country’s population.
Angola has not recorded a new yellow fever case since June 23, while the last new case in DR Congo was registered on July 12, Briand said.
She warned that vaccination against yellow fever remains low across Africa and that there is still a risk of a large-scale outbreaks in the future.
That risk has been compounded by increased urbanisation on the continent, since transmission rates are higher in more densely populated areas.