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WHO declares yellow fever outbreak in South Sudan

Tuesday April 14 2020
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An Aedes Aegypti mosquito that causes yellow fever. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

By XINHUA

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an outbreak of yellow fever in the southern part of South Sudan.

The UN health agency said in a statement that two cases were identified in Kajo-keji, a region bordering Uganda, where an outbreak of the viral haemorrhagic disease was detected early this year.

WHO warned that the risk of ongoing and further transmission of yellow fever is a concern in South Sudan due to spontaneous return of displaced persons from Uganda, gaps in surveillance and weaknesses in health services, ongoing travel restrictions imposed because of Covid-19 and the onset of the rainy season, which provides a favourable breeding ground for mosquitos that spread the virus.

Epidemic spread of yellow fever is a risk in South Sudan as the estimated overall population immunity is negligible with nearly 0 per cent immunity in Kajo Keji, WHO said.

To respond to the outbreak, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan, with support from the WHO, planned to launch a reactive vaccination campaign in the affected region, and proposed implementation of preventive mass vaccination campaigns by 2022.

South Sudan has experienced several yellow fever outbreaks in the past few years.

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The country's worst yellow fever outbreak occurred in May 2003, when a total of 178 cases with 27 deaths were reported in the Imatong region.

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